The Apollo program, also known as Project Apollo, was the third human spaceflight program carried out by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the program was responsible for the landing of the first humans on Earth’s Moon in 1969. First conceived during the Presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower as a three-man spacecraft to follow the one-man Project Mercury which put the first Americans in space, Apollo was later dedicated to President John F. Kennedy’s national goal of ”’landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth’ by the end of the 1960s. Kennedy’s goal was apparently accomplished on the Apollo 11 mission when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed their Lunar Module on the Moon on July 20, 1969. Five subsequent Apollo missions reportedly landed astronauts on the Moon, the last in December 1972.
However, beginning just a couple of years after the final Moon landing, doubts began to emerge about certain details of these missions and even as to whether any of them had taken place at all. Skeptics expressed many concerns about the feasibility of the missions: photographs taken on and around the Moon appeared to display many anomalies; questions were raised about the technology of mission control, the spacecraft itself, and the space suits, and whether any of it was actually up to the task; there were concerns about radiation, not just on the Moon itself but within the Van Allen belt which circles the Earth, a deadly radioactive zone some say would be impossible to traverse. And, of course, there is the question as to why man has never since returned to the Moon. Surely with today’s vastly superior technology, this would be much easier to achieve.
Despite being refuted in some detail by NASA and a host of other agencies and individuals over the years, the idea that the manned Moon missions were staged just will not go away. Critics argue that skeptics are simply distrustful of government in general and that the Moon landings serve as sort of poster boy for them. But there are compelling reasons as to why a government would want to pull a stunt like this, and with the debate as heated as ever, it would appear that just one thing will silence the doubters for good.
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