Landing Area Apollo 11

On July 20th 1969 the USA reported about the successful first manned Moon landing with Apollo 11. In the night to July 21st there was a so called live broadcast of the astronauts stepping on the Moon.
An involved scientist told me that at that time 30% of the Americans thought that this Moon landing was faked.

Moon  or  not  Moon ,  that  is  the  question :

2 pictures of the NASA homepage of Apollo 11:                                                               
(Link to picture 2:
Picture 1:
          Plain landing site in the              
             Mare Tranquillitatis.

Live video Apollo 11
Picture 3:
Picture from the live video of 1969.   
It has a similar close-by and low horizon line as the picture 2.

Picture 2:
Is the horizon the end of the Moon,   
         the day/night border   or
                     .... ???

The flat landscape fits to the landing site, the Mare Tranquillitatis.
Reenactment Live Video Apollo 11
Picture 4:
Re-enactment of the picture on the left
with a similar horizon line - but only
thanks to the covered background.

(The video can be found under at 109:42:28.) 

On picture 3 the height of the camera is about 2 m, and the distance to the horizon about 20 m. Therefore the inclination of the line of sight down to the horizon is roughly 1:10. To view directly into space, without seeing any landscape behind that border, one would have to stay on an isolated mountain on an altitude of more than 8'600 m - and all this in the sea of tranquillity.

Landing Area Apollo 11

Sketch of the landing site which allows seeing a horizon as in picture 3.

Red line: line of sight from the camera over the border directly into space.

For the calculation: see the paper.

Since there are no such high and steep mountains on the Moon, the pictures must have been taken somewhere else.


Intermediate test: Solve the problem, which hides behind the link

The missing background of the NASA pictures, the short sight distances and the low horizons are a clear indication of a studio environment: one can only see the illuminated part of the studio.

Personal appraisal and benefit
With these pictures and the "live" broadcast, which had been available already before the expedition, the Moon landing got a perfect media event. Everybody has it in best remembrance and due to the high quality of the pictures also in a colourful one.

The discussion can be more open now and there are for the time being other questions to ask, e.g.: would the astronauts have hardly made any pictures to be able to focus on the experiments – or wouldn’t they have been in the position to make so many high quality pictures in the short time?
With the knowledge that all these are studio pictures, all detail discussions about unnatural illumination, the waving flag, missing traces from the rocket engine and other possible inconsistencies are now superfluous and clarified in all.

Result of Critical Reviews
My thesis has been challenged several times (see Technical Annex below); thereby it has even more been confirmed. A nice resulting detail is the position and tilt of the TV camera. This can be seen in the following two training pictures, which correspond well with the NASA documentation about Apollo 11:
Lunar Module Apollo 11 TV camera
Lunar Module with the ladder in the front and the TV camera in the back.
MESA Apollo 11 with TV camera
The TV camera is mounted on the MESA (Modular Equipment Storage Assembly) with a tilt, so that also the bottom of the ladder would be visible on the diagonal of the image.

As a consequence the live video should have appeared tilted as well in 1969, as the following pictures demonstrate:

Apollo 11 tilted TV camera

Left: View from the tilted TV camera
Middle: Same picture, as it should have appeared on a television set (just rotated)
Right: Official still image from the live video
(The left and the middle picture were established from the original one on the right.)

The so called live video has therefore not been shot from the official camera position. This contradiction is not a proof for studio pictures, because the documentation could just be wrong. But in another context the tilt of the camera is used to explain the tilt of the horizon...

... and I made further investigations:

A Radiation Analysis shows the following Results
  • Only with luck, i.e. if the Sun does not emit any noteworthy ionising proton radiation, one can endure a Moon flight without radiation damage.
  • The officially reported total dose value of 1.8 mGray for a flight to the Moon and back could only have been achieved with an at least 7 mm thick aluminium (equivalent) radiation shielding and with an almost perfectly quiet Sun.

... and to the Lunar Laser Ranging

What do you think, dear reader, are there any laser range measurements on lunar retro reflectors?
If yes, do the retro reflectors have been placed by Apollo astronauts or by robots? And if no, then we would have a real problem with science! Read the LLR documentation.

Body Language

Below a picture of the Apollo 11 Post Flight Press Conference, just when in the beginning the 3 “heroes” are presented – or do they rather look like accused and feeling guilty?

Post Flight Press Conference from Tuesday 16 September 1969 in Houston
Post Flight Press Conference from Tuesday 16 September 1969 in Houston
Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin, Neil Armstrong & Michael Collins

Neil Armstrong’s Confession

25 years after the reported Moon landing of Apollo 11, on Wednesday, July 20th 1994, Neil Armstrong gave a speech in the White House. He said a remarkable sentence:
„There are great ideas undiscovered, breakthroughs available to those who can remove one of truth's protective layers.”
He couldn’t have spoken much clearer; he dropped a hint.
If you, dear reader, are not sure whether the Apollo 11 Moon landing was real or faked, assume that it was faked, and assume further that Armstrong wanted to drop a hint to the world that he never was there. What could he have done better? This speech succeeded to pass the censorship. Isn’t this admirable?
Neil Armstrong, We 20-July-1994, in the White House
Neil Armstrong, Wednesday 20-July-1994, in the White House

Link to a short video containing the above addressed sequence:

And here a link to his full 3½-minutes-speech:
It is worth listening the whole speech, analysing his body language and asking oneself at the end what parts of the Apollo-11-adventure have been addressed by him.


Because of the various inconsistencies in the Apollo 11 documentation and because of the downplayed high radiation risk one can conclude that
  • only a facade was shown to the public in 1969
  • Armstrong & Co. must always have remained below 500 km altitude
Also the historical development of (manned) space flight supports this conclusion: as fast as the ability for manned space flights to orbital heights of 1000km and beyond up to the Moon should have been built up in the sixties, as fast it seemed to collapse in 1973, and no astronaut could ever fly up to an orbital height of 1000km until now.
Instead of orbital heights you could also take other abilities as rendezvous manoeuvres, landings with retro-rockets on a big celestial body and many other things.

Parallel to the show and under exclusion of the public some landing attempts or successful Moon landings may have taken place (see aulis link).

Thanks to the today’s information potential it is now possible for everybody to see through these fakes.
But the willingness to look into this matter in an unbiased way is often not yet available. In this sense NASA & Co. have done an extremely solid work and they still do it today.
I think that nowadays we can learn therefrom for other areas of life, e.g. how our media work, and also how Wikipedia is censored; see under Potpourri or directly here: /potpourri-en.shtml#Wikipedia



Technical Annex


Lunar Laser Ranging


Picture Show, not commented


Links to related web sites or related papers
A proof of image fakery in the case of Apollo 15, Apollo 12 and Apollo 14 by Colin Rourke, Professor of Mathematics:

Hadley: a study in fakery (version 2):

Link to Colin Rourke's home page: There is no reference to Apollo any more.

A general investigation on Apollo landing site photos and imagery:
... with a summary of my findings on the Apollo 11 landing site pictures:

Among others you can find here also anomalies of the footage (often referring to aulis)

About the author

In 1969 when the USA reported about a successful Moon landing I was 14 years old and proud of such a technical achievement. I never took information about possibly faked pictures seriously until December 2008 when I looked closer to a picture I saw accidentally. I found a trace, followed it, and at the end the case cleared up.
My motivation: I would like to demonstrate with this example how information can be distributed and how (easily) mankind can be manipulated.
Andreas Märki, May 2009                                                                                                                         Last update: March 2017