| Jr. Feature |

50: To the Moon and Back Again

On July 20, 1969, for the first time in history, America landed men on the moon. The mission, called Apollo 11, was launched from Houston, Texas by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Agency).

Six hundred million people around the world watched as astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin walked on the moon, the most amazing technological feat ever achieved. They left their footprints on the moon, and they left their footprints on history. Now, 50 years later, the world revisits that day.


The Rippling Flag & Other Mysteries

Many people believe that the moon landing never happened. They think NASA staged an elaborate hoax to make people believe they really landed on the moon. What fuels their doubts? First of all, the thing was so amazing, so incredible, that people found it hard to believe.

But there were also a number of puzzling questions to support the disbelief, making people wonder if it was all true. Here’s a few of them and the answers:


Q: The American flag looks like it’s flapping in a breeze in photos — but how, since there’s no air on the moon to make a breeze?

A: The astronauts accidentally bent the horizontal rods holding the flag in place, which made it look like a rippling flag.


Q: Why were there no stars in the pictures, just black backgrounds?

A: Glare from sunlight reflected off the lunar surface made the stars hard to see. And their cameras used very fast exposure — 1/150th or 1/250th of a second — so the stars didn’t show up.


Q: Armstrong and Aldrin are seen together in some pictures, but we don’t see any camera. Who was taking the pictures?

A:The cameras were mounted on the astronauts’ chests.


Q: The Apollo 11 spacecraft passed through the deadly Van Allen radiation belts. Why didn’t they die from the radiation before they reached the moon?

A:That radiation would take days to kill, and they traveled through it in a few hours.


Q: They say they left a flag and other things on the moon, but how come even the most powerful telescopes can’t find them?

A: The objects are too small to be seen at such a distance even with the biggest telescopes. Anyway, in 2009, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) did photograph the site, with their stuff lying there just the way the astronauts left it. Tracks made by the astronauts as they walked and kicked up the lunar dust could also be seen.

There are other questions, which also have answers, but some people would rather cling to their conspiracy theories.

The best argument against them is the fact that secrets are hard to keep, and the bigger the secret and the more people to keep it, the harder it gets. It’s not credible that all those people who had to be in on the hoax — the astronauts and their families, 400,000 people who worked for NASA, the network news guys — could keep a secret like that. And since not one of them ever said it didn’t happen, it must have happened.

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 783)


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