The Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969
is one historical event that conspiracy theorists love
to... theorize about. The idea of space travel seems so farfetched to some that they would rather believe that it was easier to film in a sound stage, because they have no actual means to go to the moon and see for themselves that it happened. As such, the conspiracy itself has been ripe for parody in the media.
This trope is a Historical In-Joke
where the moon landing really was
staged behind closed doors, or the conspiracy is otherwise Discussed
NASA really did
land on the moon (many times in fact), and there's an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence to prove it. In fact, the MythBusters had a lot of fun proving the theorists wrong many times over on this one
. The Other Wiki
also has a page
which lists the various pieces of "evidence" for a conspiracy, with rebuttals to each. Please keep your wild mass guessing and theories to the Useful Notes page
Anime & Manga
- An ad for Red Bull references this, where the astronauts "get wiiings" [sic] on the moon. Mission control says "come back to Earth and we'll shoot the whole thing in a studio."
- Wandaba Style: Susumu Tsukumo adamantly believes that the 1969 moon landing was fake, and is thus trying to get a rocket there himself (using environmentally safe methods).
- In the film Capricorn One the government fakes a Mars landing.
- In Looney Tunes: Back in Action, when Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck are in Area 52, they browse through a videotape shelf. One of the videotapes read "MOON LANDING DRESS REHEARSAL."
- In Transformers: Dark of the Moon there's an amusing variant: the Moon landing is real, but the video footage and radio transmissions are all faked in order to cover what Armstrong and Aldrin are really doing up there.
- In Interstellar, future school boards have rewritten American history textbooks to state that the moon landing was faked by the government in order to push the space race further and drive the Soviet Union bankrupt through trying to catch up; they did this to discourage the idea of space travel, so that people wouldn't try to look for ways to leave the (dying) planet Earth. The main character Cooper was a former NASA employee who was pretty disgusted by this.
- On The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert turned how his character doesn't believe in the Moon landing into a Running Gag.
- On the June 7, 2006 edition, Colbert said "Tonight's guest is a pioneer in Mars exploration. Hopefully tonight he'll explain how they faked a space landing there too."
- On the July 27, 2006 episode, Colbert said "And here's the Smithsonian Institute's Air and Space Museum, where you can see the original rocks from the soundstage where they faked the Moon landing. It's a part of Hollywood history."
- On the August 1, 2007 edition, Colbert said, "Unless you've been on the moon this week, you know I broke my wrist. And if you have been on the moon, congratulations, you are the first!"
- In "The Three Days of the Hunter Job" episode of Leverage, Eliot says he's seen the moon landing sets, and that the reason they haven't been destroyed is that the government plans to paint them red and reuse them for Mars landings.
Parker: We totally went to the moon.
Eliot: Movie sets. I've seen them, they're outside of Albuquerque.
Parker: Why would there still be sets there?
Eliot: Because they're gonna reuse them for the Mars mission, repaint them all red.
- The "Balloon" episode of Newsradio has Jimmy James pretends to fly a hot air balloon around the world, but was filming the whole thing inside a TV studio. Lisa finds out and calls him out on it.
Jimmy: It's not like I was faking the Apollo Moon landings, now that was a big deal.
Jimmy: (Nervously) Nothing, I gotta go.
- That '70s Show "Can't You Hear Me Knocking": Kelso accidentally threatens the president and the gang start to believe that everything is the Feds coming to arrest them. Even a car parking outside the house.
Eric: The Feds wouldn't park a car right outside my house.
: Everything you think the Government aren't doing, they are doing, the only thing they didn't do was land man on the moon, Spielberg
shot the whole thing in a Hollywood movie set, that's how he got the job for Jaws
- In one of a series of Conspiracy Theory sketches on That Mitchell and Webb Look, a shady government office plans to fake the moon landings. When they realise that no one will be fooled unless they really do build a massive rocket, and they'll have the cost of film crews and catering on top of that, they decide that it'll be cheaper just to pop to the moon and fake the footage there.
- 30 Rock: A group of candidates for Jacks old position take a tour in the "A Goon's Deed in a Weary World" episode and one gets quite excited when he sees Studio 6H.
- Arrested Development "The B. Team": Ron Howard keeps the Lunar Excursion Module that was used to fake the landings in his office and holds meetings in it.
: Hey, let’s go inside the LEM. You want to? Michael
: Is this the one that landed on the moon? Ron
: On a soundstage. Michael
: Oh, right, from Apollo 13
: No, no, 1969. I'll tell you about it inside the LEM. It's soundproof in there. And it's a national secret. (Cut to Inside the LEM
). So, NASA did go to the moon in 71. That one was real. But in 69, they weren't ready, so they faked the whole thing on the soundstage of Gentle Ben
: Boy. Ron
: Me and my brother
, we hid up in the rafters. We’ve seen the whole thing.
- The music video for Imagine Dragons' "On Top Of The World" starts off with the band members leaving their perfect families and heading to NASA to be the astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission. Halfway into the video, it's revealed that the whole thing is being staged, with Stanley Kubrick directing it and Richard Nixon watching next to him. After the landing was successfully televised, the sound stage is rushed by screaming fangirls who listen to the band play while still wearing their space suits.
- Played with in the video to Rammstein's "Amerika", which is fundamentally about America's cultural and political impact on the rest of the world and includes a studio where "moon" shots are being taken among its scenes.
- Before it was replaced by the American Idol Experience, Disney's Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM Studios) had a show where members of the audience were selected to appear (via green screen) in several iconic television scenes. One of these scenes is the moon landing, where the participant steps onscreen to show cue cards for Armstrong.
- The first of the Area 51 FPS had the main character getting deeper into the eponymous base to stop an Alien Invasion, and at one moment he would pass through a storage room holding a false lunar landscape, an Apollo capsule and some recording equipment. Bonus points for allowing you to shoot up the place.
- If you unlock Dr Cray's third diary entry, he states that man has been to the moon but the Apollo footage was faked to hide what was really happening.
Dr Cray: The moon landings nearly four decades ago were part of a misdirection by our government to confuse the public regarding alien encounters. We've certainly been to the moon but the mysteries and horrors found there would never make for quaint historical quotation.
- When you read the thoughts of a male Russian in Destroy All Humans! 2, they may comment on how they think the moon landing was filmed in Newark, New Jersey. Later in the game, when you really do go to the moon, one of the sidequests involves receiving a delivery from a courier.
Pox: It's being delivered by a courier company called... the North American Shipping Association.
- In Duke Nukem 3D, one level set in Hollywood includes a movie set containing a fake lunar scenery with an American flag and the lunar module standing there.
- In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, one of the warehouses in the movie lot contains a sound stage resembling the Apollo 11 landing.
- After returning to Detroit later on in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, a random citizen on the street expresses her disbelief of the current social situations by bringing up how the moon landing was faked in a studio as a relatable example.
- Played with in Battle Zone 1998. The moon landing was real, but not in the traditional sense. The game opens up panning around the Apollo lander - then pans around to show a massive military base in the background full of Hover Tanks. The famous picture of Neil Armstrong standing alone on the moon was taken by the leader of the Nation Space Defense Force, General Collins.
- Referenced in Saints Row: The Third, during the "Gangstas in Space" DLC missions. During one of them, as you're running backstage to the next set, the Boss and Jennifer run through a bizarre series of sets. The Boss has no idea what they're doing there, but Jennifer notes that they look a little like the Moon...
- In the American Dad! episode "Phantom of the Telethon", After the CIA loses funding for torture equipment, Stan hosts a telethon to raise money needed to continue. He opens up to the audience with a joke.
Stan: This is the very soundstage where we faked the moon landing and the JFK assassination.
- Codename: Kids Next Door: "Operation: M.O.O.N." starts with Sector V watching footage from the 1969 landing and laughing about how KND had managed to fool the Apollo 11 crew into thinking that they had landed on the moon, to stop them finding their secret moon base. They then learn that for the anniversary, a family is going to be sent to the moon, and it happens to be Numbuh 4's family. They build a huge fake stage and control everything behind the scenes like The Truman Show in order to convince Numbuh 4's family that they actually had flown to the moon, lived there for a while, and came back to Earth.
- The Family Guy episode "Don't Make Me Over" has a Cut Away Gag that shows Neil Armstrong finishing up the filming of the moon landing, then walking out back of the studio to head home. A fan recognizes him and questions why he isn't up in space. Neil nervously tries to make up an excuse before panicking.
Neil Armstrong:Oh, uhh, there was a tape delay, and uh solar winds and... (Bashes the guy with his space helmet.)
Take this to Area 51
Soldier: But sir, that's where we're building the fake moon landing set.
Then we'll have to really land on the Moon! Invent NASA
and tell them to get off their fannies!
: The one secret they never suspected was that I really did stage the moon landing... on Venus
! Aroo! Muahahaha!
- In the Kim Possible episode "Stop Team Go": Shego is temporarily turned good but Kim has trouble convincing Ron.
Kim: (elbowing Ron) Ron, that's Shego!
Ron: Nah, it's not Shego, it's Miss Go — see, it says so on the board.
Kim: Putting something on the board doesn't make it true!
Ron: Oh, sure, y'know, when I said that in 20th Century History, I got sent to the office!
Kim: The moon landing wasn't faked in the Arizona desert, Ron!
- In the "Meet the Manger Babies" episode of King of the Hill, conspiracy theorist Dale Gribble suggests that the Super Bowl is pre-selected and is filmed in an unidentifiable location where they filmed the fake Moon landing, months before the game ever began. In the "Dale to the Chief" episode, Dale discovers that the government report on the Kennedy assassination actually made sense and said, "If the government was right about this then maybe we really did go to the moon."
- In the Megas XLR episode "Don't Tell Mom the Baby Sitter is Coop", Coop flys Megas to the moon in an attempt to show off to his cousin, once there they land next to one of the Apollo sites knocking over the lander. Coop comments about it before he kicks some dust over the lander.
Coop: See I told you they didn't fake that.