On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk somewhere that wasn’t the planet Earth. The first Moon landing was a huge moment in history, not just because space travel is awesome, but because it encapsulated the indomitable nature of humanity. Forty-eight years later, Armstrong’s footprint remains proof of the ingenuity and moxie of our species. Unless of course, you think the moon landing was a hoax, a conspiracy designed by the U. S. government as a Cold War power play. Those who cling to this untruth can be tenacious, but don’t worry, there’s three easy way to shut down the all the anti-moon landing conspiracy people: technology, rocks, and the media.
The proof that the Apollo missions happened is actually very terrestrial. It exists in the contemporary technology around us every day. In other words, if Armstrong had never walked on the moon, you wouldn’t have a laptop. The legacy of NASA’s Apollo program can be readily found in the innovations made in the fields micro-electromechanical systems in the 1960s. As professor and former NASA engineer Scott Hubbard told Computer World in 2009, the streamlining — and miniaturization — of basic computer functions were essential to making control panels, and other components on Apollo spacecraft even work at all. “Power consumption. Mass. Volume. Data rate. All the things that were important to making space flight feasible led to major changes in technology,” Hubbard explained.
This micro-mechanical tech literally saves lives. According to NASA “Apollo technology was used by Medrad to develop the AID implantable automatic pulse generator, which monitors the heart continuously.” NASA found it essential to keep an eye on astronaut’s heart-rates using telemetry that could be transmitted remotely. This was because of the unprecedented distances between the hearts of the astronauts and the people who needed to keep track of them. Other micro-mechanical and micro-electrical technology spun-out of NASA might be less impressive, but is also more ubiquitous.
Both cordless drills and Dustbusters were developed during the Apollo program. These things are convenient for keeping one’s house tidy or installing a shelf, but on the Moon, both pieces of technology were essential for survival.
But if a conspiracy Moon hoax-lover won’t buy the innovation angle, then you can just talk to them about moon rocks. In response to the infamous 2001 Fox TV special “Did We Land on the Moon?”, NASA deftly countered that nothing in any of these theories every addresses samples from the Moon which were brought back to Earth, saying “Geologists worldwide have been examining these samples for 30 years, and the conclusion is inescapable. The rocks, clearly formed in the absence of oxygen and water, could not have been collected or manufactured on Earth.”
At this point, a hardcore Moon-landing denier might still contend that a bunch of geologists were paid off by NASA. Further, this mindset might go so far as to say that even the innovations were being developed separately, and attributed to NASA after the fact. It seems unlikely Moon-landing deniers would deny the existence of rocket technology (still used by NASA and Space X), but let’s say they still weren’t convinced. That’s okay, because there’s one last nail in the space-coffin of these conspiracy theory: the media.
As NASA points out, even if they had wanted to fake the Moon landing, the couldn’t, because of the type of access the public has always had to the program. “ Druing Apollo 11, over 3,500 media representatives from all over the world were at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, for the liftoff.”
So, if someone out there can prove that over 3,000 journalists were paid-off by NASA, that evil geologists are in cahoots with the government, and that Dustbusters aren’t useful, we encourage such people to come forward. For the rest of us: happy Moon Landing Day! We can’t wait until we go back.