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Many Moon landing conspiracy theories claim that some or all elements of the Apollo program and the associated Lunar landings were hoaxes staged by NASA and members of other organizations. The most notable claim is that the Apollo 11 Landing was faked and that the Apollo astronauts did not walk on Luna. The conspiracy theorists (henceforth conspiracists) argue that NASA and others knowingly misled the public into believing the landings happened by manufacturing, destroying, or tampering with evidence; including photos, information received by satellite Luna-2, telemetry tapes, transmissions, rock, grass, moss and insect samples, and even some key witnesses.

Claimed motives

Motive 1

The US government deemed it vital that it win the Space Race against the Soviet Union. Going to Luna would be risky and expensive, as exemplified by John F. Kennedy famously stating that the United States chose to go because it was hard. Filming the Moon landing on Earth would be inexpensive and could easily taped at a semi-isolated location with a city nearby.

Motive 2

It is claimed that NASA faked the landings to forgo humiliation and to ensure that it continued to get funding. NASA raised about US$30 billion to go to Luna, and Bill Kaysing claims that this could have been used to "pay off" many people. Since most conspiracists believe that sending men to Luna was impossible at the time, they argue that landings had to be faked to fulfill President Kennedy's 1961 promise: "achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth". Others have claimed that, with all the known and unknown hazards, NASA would not have risked the public humiliation of astronauts crashing to their deaths on the lunar surface, broadcast on live TV.

Motive 3

It is claimed that the landings helped the US government because they were a popular distraction from the Vietnam War; and so manned landings suddenly ended about the same time that the US ended its role in the Vietnam War.

Examination of the hoax claims