Episode 104: NASA Moon Landing

Air Date: August 27, 2008

This episode was based on the urban legend/conspiracy theory which claims that NASA never landed men on the moon, and instead the achievement was intentionally faked for one reason or another.

One of the NASA photos is fake because the shadows of the rocks and lunar lander are not parallel.


The Mythbusters built a small-scale replica of the lunar landing site based on the photograph, using reflective sand similar to that found on the Moon, and a single light to represent the Sun. Next, they took a photo which was exactly the same as the NASA photo, including the differing shadows. The Mythbusters explained that the shadows were not parallel because of the way the light falls on the Moon’s natural topography.

One of the NASA photos is fake because Neil Armstrong can be clearly seen while in the shadow of the lunar lander.


To test this myth, the Mythbusters built a large-scale replica of the landing site, allowing them to take a photo which was nearly identical to the original NASA photo. The Mythbusters explained that Armstrong was visible because of ambient light being reflected off of the Moon’s surface.

A flag cannot flap in a vacuum.


The Build Team placed a replica of the American flag planted on the moon into a vacuum chamber at the Marshall Space Flight Center. They first tested at normal pressure and manipulated the flag. The momentum moved the flag around but the motion quickly dissipated. In vacuum conditions, manipulating the flag caused it to flap vigorously as if it were being blown by a breeze. This demonstrated that a flag could appear to wave in a vacuum, as the Apollo flag did.

A clear footprint cannot be made in vacuum because there is no moisture to hold its shape.


The Build Team first tested whether dry or wet sand made a more distinguishable footprint by stepping in them with an astronaut boot. It was clear that the wet footprint had more detail than the dry footprint. They then placed sand similar in composition to the Moon’s soil in a vacuum chamber and stepped on it with an astronaut boot, which made a clear print. The reason provided for this was that the unique composition of lunar soil allows it to behave differently than terrestrial soil.

The film of the astronauts moonwalking is actually film of the astronauts skipping in front of a high-framerate camera, slowing down the picture and giving the illusion they are on the Moon.


Adam donned a replica NASA spacesuit and mimicked the astronauts’ motions while being filmed by a slow motion camera. They also attached Adam to wires in order to mimic the Moon’s lower gravity. While comparing their new footage with the original footage, the Mythbusters noted an initial similarity, but there were several small discrepancies attributable to filming in Earth’s gravity. In order to film in microgravity, the Mythbusters boarded a Reduced Gravity Aircraft and filmed the exact same movements. Adam noted that the movements were more comfortable and more logical in microgravity, and their footage from the plane looked exactly like the original NASA film. The Mythbusters concluded that the moon landing film is authentic.

The Apollo astronauts left behind special equipment on the Moon like reflectors that scientists can bounce lasers off of.


The Mythbusters went to an observatory equipped with a high powered laser. They first fired at the bare lunar surface but did not detect the laser bouncing back. Then they pointed the laser at a reflector left behind by NASA and received a confirmed bounce.


  1. mike mike says:

    Landing on moon safely is impossible because of newton’s mechanics laws, gravity of moon, lack of air friction. It can become possible when cold fusion or antigravity is invented.

    • Jeff says:

      That’s not true. The U.S. made six successful missions to the moon. Theorists overstate the dangers of the Val Allen belts, and understate what the nasa program is capable of. People that deny the landings lack understanding on how the space program works. Remember there are many scientists at nasa that have studied for years and know much more than any hoax believer.

      • Randy says:

        That’s true we did land on the moon but some just do not understand how things work at nasa. They think everything is a hoax and space travel is not possible just because someone told them so.

  2. Dan says:

    The moon has 1/6th the gravity of earth. Fact. I did not see any movement by the astronauts the showed a reduced gravity. No one jumped 6 times higher or farther.. no one jumped even 2 times higher or farther.

    • ron says:

      that would probably be because of the three hundred pound backpack (on earth) that they had to wear in order to maintain life on the moon’s surface, if my math is right than the backpack would weigh somewhere around 180 pounds


    Come here people remeber it was the cold war nand were we not in a space race with the Soviet Union Fact the Soviets were keeping a close eye and fact they were even listing to every Apollo radio communication why to make sure th US wasn’t up to anything funny and trying to expose the US as a fraud so if we faked it then how did a conspiracy theorist who at best has only high school education discover this but the Soviets a world super power who has all the resources in the world and of loved nothing more then to expose the US as frauds went completely blind and did not notice simple they didn’t becuse they knew the Apollo missions were without a bout 100%real and true real and not a hoxes and that they officially lost the space race it was a hoax I just don’t see that happing how did theses theorist who are us citizens most only with high school education make this discovery the moon landing was a hoax but the Soviet Union a world power and US enemy who was eyeing these missions closer then Nasa n was actively seeking to destroy the US governments reputation and credibility went completel blind and did not notice how and keep in mind for all u theorist out there we will say outher wise do your history there is no record of the Soviet government ever stating they new it was a hoxes and trust if the knew the would of exposed the moment they lost they space race why would they let there enemy beat them and win so with that ill leave you with a 100%true fact


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