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Debunking the Apollo 11 Moon Landing Conspiracy Theories

Moon landing controversy theories are extremely popular, but they are, without exception, incorrect. This story explains why ...
Tanmay Tikekar

"That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind!"

"Okay, cut! Excellent, Neil, perfect delivery. No, no, Michael, you stay in there! Was that okay, Mr. President? Was that okay, Mr. Premier? Was that okay, heads of every other state in the world? Was that okay, every radio station in the world? Ok, then.
Pack up, everybody! Get the Moon gravity cables off them. Someone make sure all the prop rocks go where they belong, we don't want someone noticing the prop markers on them, now do we?"

This is how proceedings went on a certain July evening in 1969. According to conspiracy theorists, at least!
The moon landing conspiracy is the belief that man never went to the Moon, and that footage of the Moon landings was faked; probably on a sound stage in Nevada's Area 51. Despite tons of evidence to the contrary, conspiracy theorists cling on to this precious little myth, and this hoax has become one of the most researched and discussed topics in the world.
Of course, the Moon landing conspiracy theory is severely lacking in matters of science, completely skims over global politics in the 1960s, and summarily dismisses plain old rational thought when it starts to create loopholes in the theory.
Moon landing conspiracy theories are not created by esteemed scientists studiously examining the evidence and then coming up with logical loopholes.
Instead, they are propagated by self-proclaimed 'experts' seeing something that is a bit hard to understand, believing it to be impossible, and then studiously looking for the tiniest bits of evidence in the official account that support their view.
The bits of evidence used by these 'experts' to make their case often―no, not often, always―aid the veracity of the official account when viewed in proper context, but the conspiracy theorists simply turn a blind eye to that inconvenient truth. Ignorance can indeed be bliss!
These theories also serve as avenues of income for the head honchos among conspiracy theorists, who write unbelievably nutty books, make often-heavily-edited films, and hold expos, to milk every last dime off those in the general populace who are not familiar enough with science to notice the falsehood and the lack of scientific knowledge behind the facade.
Moon landing conspiracy theories primarily constitute of a lot of "that could not have happened" or "that is just impossible". While this is completely understandable as an initial reaction, it is criminal to not try to find out how it could have happened, and then keep ranting about the 'impossibles' without actually knowing anything about it.
If you don't want the rational and scientific pin to burst the bubble of your belief and ignorance, this article is not for you. If you are still on the fence about the topic, read on.
Here are the most popular conspiracy theories about the Moon landings, and an explanation of how the trifecta of evidence, science, and common sense, trumps over them all.

Moon Landing Controversy Theory Debunked


Controversy: Bill Kaysing had to self-publish his 1976 book We Never Went to the Moon: America's Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle 'revealing' the Moon landing fraud, after his publishers rejected his manuscript.
The Lunatic's Version: This is actually the mother ship for all Moon landing controversy theories. The notoriety gained by Bill Kaysing was the first time the possibility of the lunar landing being a fraud was suggested, and it took off from there. According to controversy theorists, Kaysing was blocked from revealing the truth.
What Actually Happened: Kaysing's manuscript was rejected by his editor because it wasn't good enough. This is actually a perfectly normal scenario, and the editor was completely within his rights to reject it. Kaysing, however, took it as evidence of his publishing house being aligned to the government.

The Waving Flag

Controversy: The American flag on the lunar surface moves and flutters when the astronauts are pitching it on the Moon. Conspiracy theorists claim that this wouldn't happen on the Moon, where there is no atmosphere, and thus, no wind to move the flag.
This allegedly indicates that the filming was done on a sound stage, and a door was mistakenly opened, letting in a rush of air that fluttered the flag.
The Lunatic's Version: Someone was allowed to open the door of a (presumably) off-limits sound stage in a top-secret military facility in the middle of a desert, during the filming of arguably, the most important project in American filmmaking history!
And because the US and NASA were just so tight on budget (apart from billions of dollars, of course), the shot couldn't be performed again, this time with the doors closed!
What Actually Happened: Imagine hammering a nail into a floorboard without moving the nail, or pitching a tent-peg without letting the rope move.
Now, imagine doing the same things without a hammer! The flag fluttered because of the motion in unfurling it and pitching it on the surface.
Astronauts had to move it back and forth to fix it into the ground. The movement was transferred to the flagpole, which caused the flag to 'flutter'.
The Apollo 11 astronauts didn't even have the equivalent of a hammer to firmly place the flag in the lunar rocks. Also, the flag was fixed with horizontal support rods to keep it erect in a low-gravity environment. These rods were accidentally bent, producing the appearance of a crinkled flag. The upper rod can actually be seen in many photos.
Furthermore, the moon has no atmosphere―one of the very few points the conspiracy theorists have got right. However, this means that there is virtually no air resistance. Because of this, the flag would flutter much more and for much longer than on earth, even upon the slightest touch.
The much-publicized movement of the flag does not match Earth conditions, and happens perfectly how it would be expected to happen in a low-gravity, no-environment condition.

The Moon Was Too Hot

Controversy: The surface temperatures on the Moon are extremely high, since it has no atmospheric protection from solar radiation. Why didn't the astronauts and their equipment suffer from heat-related issues?
The Lunatic's Version: The cameras would have melted in the lunar heat, and equipment would have malfunctioned.

What Actually Happened: Though the Moon's surface temperature is indeed extremely high, it has no atmosphere. This means that very little of the surface heat is dissipated from the ground
On Earth, the air heats up when it comes in contact with the ground; solar radiation doesn't have much direct effect on the temperature of the air on Earth. Since there is no air on the Moon, the surface heat didn't impede the missions.
In fact, Neil Armstrong could only explore the Moon for about 2 hours because NASA were worried about the suit's compatibility with Moon temperatures, but Apollo 17 astronauts explored the Moon for a massive 22 hours without any ill-effects.

No Impact Crater

Controversy: Theoretically, the flames of the lunar module's rockets should have created a crater and dust clouds on the lunar surface, but the photos don't show anything like that.

The Lunatic's Version: This is actually, quite a valid claim. Even some NASA scientists thought, before the launch, that this would be the case. 
But a simple explanation of pressure is all that is needed to clear up this theory, which the scientists duly did. The conspiracy theorists, meanwhile, believe that not only did the filmmakers make a mistake when filming the alleged launch, but then actually went ahead andphotographed the mistake, and released those very same photos to the public.
What Actually Happened: Lunar gravity is about 1/6th that of the Earth. This means that much less force would be required to take off from the lunar surface.
The rockets simply didn't need to employ the kind of forces that would create a crater, in contrast to the Hollywood-fueled popular notion that massive forces are required to blast off from every celestial body.
Though the module was heavy under terrestrial gravity, it exerted apressure less than one tenth of that of an average car tire, further lowered by the low gravity on the Moon! As for the dust clouds, the module didn't hover for long enough to create any significant ones.

Multiple Angles of Shadows

Controversy: Moon landing conspiracy junkies cite photos taken on the Moon in which shadows of different objects can be observed to be falling at different angles. According to the conspiracy theorists, parallel light coming from the Sun should create the same angle of shadows for all objects.
The Lunatic's Version: NASA scientists, acknowledged even by their critics to be brilliant at their job, used more than one source of light to mimic the Sun. They didn't realize that multiple spotlights would produce a different set of shadows than a set of parallel light rays coming from a single source in (optical) infinity.
What Actually Happened: How hard is it to make an argument that doesn't defy the laws of physics, or the unwritten laws of common sense? If there were multiple light sources, each object would have had multiple shadows!
It's unbelievably asinine and ignorant of conspiracy nuts to claim that one spotlight illuminated lunar rocks and nothing else, the second one illuminated only the astronauts, and a third one illuminated only the lunar rover.
The angle of the shadows differs from each other simply because the angle of the various objects is different. The surface of the Moon is not flat. The abundantly present troughs and rises alter the angle of the object, and that of the shadow.

No Stars In the Photos

Controversy: No photographs captured on the Moon show stars in the sky.

The Lunatic's Version: NASA obviously filmed the landing and shot the photographs against a black backdrop. For some (convoluted, top-secret, nefarious) reason, they didn't even bother to digitally place white dots on the background. How stupid and ignorant of NASA!
What Actually Happened: Try capturing a photograph of the stars. During the day. While surrounded by ice.
Anyone with the most basic knowledge of photography would realize why this scenario is impossible. Stars are ridiculously far away from the Earth (and the Moon).
As a result, they appear extremely dull. Capturing stars requires very high exposure limits and extremely slow shutter speeds. However, if you employ these camera settings during the day, you would mess up the photos, since the high exposure would let in incredible amounts of sunlight, and render the photo a mere white rectangle.
The brightness of the Sun consumes everything else, which is why we don't see stars during the day. Our atmosphere even 'dims down' the Sun by a considerable degree, whereas, the Moon's doesn't. The astronauts landed on the 'day' half of the Moon, and had to take photos with a much faster shutter speed than would have been necessary to capture stars.
Furthermore, taking photos of the stars was not the priority in Moon missions. The priority was to take photos of, ahem-ahem, the Moon! What sense does it make to spend billions of dollars and undertake a potentially fatal mission to the Moon, only to then take photos of stars?
If NASA wanted to take photos of stars from the Moon (which is non sequitur, to be honest), they would have landed the module on the 'night' half of the Moon.
In fact, Neil Armstrong could only explore the Moon for about 2 hours because NASA were worried about the suit's compatibility with Moon temperatures, but Apollo 17 astronauts explored the Moon for a massive 22 hours without any ill-effects.

Van Allen Radiation Belts

Controversy: There are 'belts' of radiation around the Earth, named after the scientist whose designs helped discover them. These belts carry high amounts of radiation, but in patches. Theoretically, it shouldn't be possible to get a spacecraft through such an intense concentration of radiation without causing significant damage to its inhabitants.
The Lunatic's Version: The spacecraft would have been damaged beyond repair―if not melted―while traveling through the radiation belts, and the astronauts would have been killed.
What Actually Happened: There is considerable and widespread misunderstanding among the conspiracy theorists about the various types of radiation, its effects, and what is needed to cancel it out. The radiation in Van Allen radiation belts is primarily particle radiation, which is easier to block.
The claims that a 2-meter block of lead would have been required to block the radiation in the belt is widely off the mark. A 2-meter block of lead is enough to protect oneself from a moderately sized nuclear explosion, let alone scattered patches of radiation!
Apollo 11 simply did not spend enough time in the radiation belts to contract a lethal dose of radiation. The spacecraft's course was plotted so as to avoid the most dangerous and concentrated areas in the radiation belts.
In fact, the spacecrafts were equipped with shielding in the form of aluminum plating. The problem is that the shielding doesn't coincide with the popular connotation of the word 'shielding', and is thus, viewed with suspicion.

Unexplained Objects in Photos

Controversy: There are many seemingly inexplicable objects in many NASA photos. The objects, speckles, and smudges are alleged to be inadvertently captured images of studio lights and other filmmaking equipment

The Lunatic's Version: So, NASA messed up, again! They captured fake photos that, clearly, some best minds in the world thought were detection-proof. 
They actually went ahead and released these photos to the public, those overconfident pricks! However, NASA scientists were obviously wrong, again, and half-baked, amateur conspiracy theorists were right!

What Actually Happened: Most 'unexplainable' objects in the photos are mere smudges or dots that could have arisen anywhere along the development process.
Some are natural, easily explainable (if you have a basic understanding of light and photography) lens flares, while some are excellent examples of pareidolia―seeing seemingly meaningful patterns and images where there aren't any. The best example of the latter is the 'C' rock.

'C' rock

Controversy: A photo in the Moon landing sequence contains a rock that has a mark that looks like a 'C'. The alphabet would not have been present on the Moon.

The Lunatic's Version: What else? NASA screwed up again! NASA were using prop rocks to simulate the lunar surface, and accidentally put a prop rock with its prop label, 'C', showing!
What Actually Happened: Movie props are not labeled in such a conspicuous manner, as a safeguard against precisely this scenario that the conspiracy theorists claim. It would be disastrous if a director changed the filming angle without warning, and the label became visible in the final print. 
Penn and Teller asked the same question on their show-which-must-not-be-named, and got a very vocal denial from their prop manager. Show me a prop man who labels his props so conspicuously, and I will show you someone who is incredibly lucky to be employed.
However, show a conspiracy theorist a normal prop man who doesn't label his props that way, and he will try to convince you that it is all part of the great cover-up!
The 'C' came about during the development of the original NASA photo, which does not have the C. It can be easily explained as a hair, or pretty much anything else, that got caught on the film while it was being developed.
This is a classic case of pareidolia. Conspiracy theorists like to find the tiniest of loopholes, which they can then parade, proclaiming that they have irrefutably proven their case. However, one isolated mark on one rock in one photo (the C mark is not seen in any other photo―even other shots of the same landscape) does not prove anything.
This particular mark came about during the development of the photo, but even if it had been captured on the original photo, there is no reason why a lunar rock shouldn't have a mark like that!
Rocks are formed completely randomly, and, if closely examined, the shapes and patterns on virtually every rock in the universe can always be twisted into something that resembles something on Earth. To the conspiracy theorist, however, an irrelevant mark on a photo becomes what he wants and needs it to be―an artifact of an Earth-based language.

Incorrectly Situated Crosshairs

Controversy: In many Moon landing photos, the crosshairs on the camera lens seemingly disappear behind other objects in the photo. Crosshairs should always appear in front of other objects, since they are present not in the scene, but in the camera itself. In some other photos, the crosshairs are not in the center, or vertically aligned.
The Lunatic's Version: More than anything else, "we don't understand how this happened, so instead of finding it out, we will claim that it is fake. Even though we don't know anything about it". To be more specific, conspiracy theorists claim that the objects in the photos were 'pasted' onto the images afterwards, resulting in the disappearing crosshairs.

What Actually Happened: If NASA wanted to superimpose human structures on a fake lunar landscape, they wouldn't have used crosshairs at all. Or else, they would have pasted the crosshairs onto the pictureafter the other objects. Or else, they would have erased the risky crosshairs completely.
I could go on in this vein for quite a while, because there are many ways of placing crosshairs on a photo. Unfortunately, for the conspiracy theorists, they are picking on the one result that would be expected to occur in such a situation!
If the photos with the suspect crosshairs were to be examined, it can be seen that the crosshairs only 'appear behind' the object when the object is bright and white, such as white stripes in the American flag, or panels on the lunar module. The crosshairs are extremely thin―about 0.1 mm thick.
When bright (saturated, for those familiar with photo-talk) white color is processed, it masks a small amount of black tones right next to it. This phenomenon is known as image bleed. The 'mystery of the disappearing crosshairs' is also partly due to the comparatively poorer quality of image processing in the 1960s.
Modern scans of the same photos have revealed the crosshairs.

Now for the off-center crosshairs. Some photos were cropped and/or rotated before their public release for better aesthetics. Conspiracy theorists believe, the version of the photos being doctored in a way theycouldn't possibly have been, but they can't accept this simple PR-related explanation.

Duplicate Backdrop

Controversy: Images of lunar landscapes reported to be miles apart are surprisingly similar. There are even photos of quite similar backgrounds, one with the lunar module present in the foreground and the other without. This is indicative of the same backdrop being used for supposedly different images.
The Lunatic's Version: Going by the lunatic's version, the Moon landing is turning out to be nothing but a litany of idiotic mistakes on NASA's part!
NASA obviously messed up BIG, the scientists went crazy and forgot the basic rules of physics, and the prop managers delegated their job to hopeless understudies who revealed a label on the props, and used the same backdrop twice.
Actually, if you examine the duplicate backgrounds closely (by which I mean 'stand a mile away and squint'), you can see an 'Area 51 Studios' marker on them. No kidding, try it!

What Actually Happened: Perception of distance is much different on the Moon than on Earth.
On the Earth, dust and other objects in the wind haze faraway objects, which, along with visual markers such as trees or buildings, give an excellent perception of distance. The Moon, on the other hand, has no atmosphere or pollution to haze faraway objects, and no visual markers to judge the distance.
Due to this, even faraway objects can be observed just as clearly on the Moon. Furthermore, the horizon on the Moon is much closer (about. 2.4 km) to the eye than on Earth (about 4.7 km), since the Moon is much smaller than the Earth. This changes the way we think about lunar landscapes, since we consider them in terms of the terrestrial distance perception.

No More Lunar Missions After the 1970s

Controversy: Why didn't we go to the Moon more often after we realized it was possible?

The Lunatic's Version: The lunar landings were staged to gain the upper hand in the Cold War-era global politics. If the US had not faked it in time, the Russians would have sent a man to the Moon (or they would have faked it first!).
What Actually Happened: There is some truth in the conspiracy theory in this case. The lunar missions weren't that important as a technological achievement or a means to study the Moon. The rival space programs of the US and the Soviet Union needed the publicity to gain the upper hand in the subdermal conflict of the Cold War.
The Russians had succeeded in sending the first man-made object to the Moon as well as the first man in space, and the US simply could not afford to let the USSR achieve the trifecta by sending the first man to the Moon. The lunar missions were the climax of the space race.
As the political race to the Moon had been won, the funding for lunar missions dried up. As the commercial benefits of lower Earth orbit satellites became more obvious, they were backed instead of the costly and inconsequential Moon landings.

The USSR Were Bribed

Controversy: No other nation disputed the US' claims about the Moon landings. While this actually weakens the controversy theories, since every Soviet-aligned nation in the world would have had a reason to call the US on their bluff, there is always a nutty explanation at hand.
The Lunatic's Version: The USSR was bribed with large grain shipments to not blow the whistle. And every other nation on Earth was bribed with magic wands and unicorns, and directors of every radio station in the world received a lifetime supply of naughty magazines.
What Actually Happened: While only the first sentence in the 'lunatic's version' is actually a part of what conspiracy theorists claim happened, they have no explanation for the other two, so we are at perfect liberty to make up our own controversy theories about the controversy theorists' claims!
On a serious note, the Soviet Union may well have been silenced with grain shipments (though there is no concrete evidence of this), but what about when the shipments expired? What about when the Soviet Union itself broke down? What about every other country and radio station in the world that received the lunar broadcast
The USSR and other nations would have no reason to keep the USA's secret once the shipments stopped. So, does the US still send grain shipments to all those countries?

And even if we posit the grain shipment theory, why shouldn't the USSR blow the whistle anyway?
If the US had been called on their 'bluff' on this one, the global political upheaval would have enabled the USSR to get the grain they apparently needed from pretty much any country in the world.
Why would the US supply its rival with the vital grain while trying to go one better than them at the same time? And why would the Soviet Union agree to such a ridiculous tradeoff?

Who Took The Photos?

Controversy: Many photographs of the astronauts show both of them in the picture, yet neither can be seen holding a camera.

The Lunatic's Version: Professional photographers took the photos (without appearing in the photo, somehow), and NASA didn't realize that nobody in the photo was holding a camera. So, they went ahead and released the photos, those fools!
What Actually Happened: The astronauts' cameras were attached to their suits, on their chests, freeing up their hands. This is an established fact, well-known even outside NASA, and yet, the conspiracy theorists don't seem to have heard it yet!

Too Many Photos?

Controversy: The total number of photos captured by astronauts on the Moon seems impossible in the recorded amount of time they spent there.

The Lunatic's Version: Photos were taken in Nevada, and once again, NASA messed up in releasing more photos than were humanly possible.
What Actually Happened: The conspiracy theorists fixate on the average of 15 seconds per photograph to make their point. However, in this case referring to the average is a risky business. The conspiracy theorists let the masses assume that a photo was taken every 15 seconds.
But of course, that is not how any sane person clicks photos. Most photos on the Moon were taken in scattered bunches, with many of the photos being panorama shots or shots of the same landscape taken with continuous clicks.
Moreover, the conspiracy theorists don't note that the average time per photo would have to be multiplied by the number of astronauts, since all of them would have had cameras.

No Pictures Of Artifacts On The Moon

Controversy: Despite the massive advancement of space exploration technology, no telescope has taken pictures of the human artifacts (flag, footprints, etc.) on the Moon. Wouldn't these photos be conclusive proof?
The Lunatic's Version: This argument actually seems valid until you actually try to find out the explanation behind the apparent anomaly. Conspiracy theorists, of course, are not interested in that, and keep on pounding their chests about this 'find'.
What Actually Happened: While it is true that telescopes, both on the Earth and in space, are capable of capturing images incredibly far away, they are not built for resolution. Capturing distant scenes is one thing, capturing the tiniest detail in a scene is another.
No telescope has the resolution to capture images of something so close to the Earth. Moreover, the artifacts left behind by the astronauts are not the kind to stand out in a crowd. Rather than looking for something clearly visible and conspicuous, it is like looking for the eye of an ant on Waldo's hat.
Even modern global mapping programs can't capture something that small, from satellites that are much closer to Earth than any telescope is to the Moon, and yet, the conspiracy theorists expect astronomers to capture photos of a flag and a footprint on the Moon!

Another side to this argument is the inherent disbelief of conspiracy theorists.
Even if scientists slap down images of the American flag not fluttering on the Moon (some recent satellite missions have indeed photographed human artifacts left on the Moon), the conspiracy theorists would simply claim that the photos are faked (probably in a studio in Nevada), taking us right back to square one.

Were The Astronauts Expert Photographers?

Controversy: The Apollo photographs released to the public are suspiciously well-captured. So, were the astronauts so good at photography that they didn't mess up a single snap?
The Lunatic's Version: On the face of it, this actually does seem a well-reasoned argument. Astronauts would (presumably) have had too much on their hands to study and master photography, particularly in conditions alien to them. So, it is conceivable that the photos were captured by professional photographers, and then attributed to the astronauts.
But yet again, the incomplete research and the innate desire to disbelieve the mundane lets down the conspiracy theory camp.

What Actually Happened: Note the phrase 'released to the public'. Obviously, the astronauts captured some photos with the settings messed up.
But, obviously, no publisher wanted these photos, and they were not duplicated. The badly captured, under/over-exposed, or blurry photos were documented, but not published at the time. Many of these photos are, in fact, now available for public viewing.

No Footprint Without Water?

Controversy: The footprints of the astronauts are too clear and well-defined to have been formed in dry, waterless dust.
The Lunatic's Version: The prints are proof that the "moon dust" contained water. The prints were made in some form of man-made material, such as plaster or clay.

What Actually Happened: Moon dust is a confusing concept, and we can't think about it in terrestrial terms, because it is very different to the soil on Earth. 
Lunar dust consists of very fine rock shards. These have a strong quasi-cohesive property that allows them to stick together―the same job that water does on terrestrial soil or plaster. 
This means that lunar dust can hold its shape like pieces of a puzzle fitting together, without an external agent such as water, and this means that footprints can be made in them without water. Because the Moon has no wind to disturb the footprints, they would be more durable than ones made on Earth. 
Even on the Earth, footprints can be produced without water in fine, powdered substances such as flour.

Evidence For The Lunar Landing

Although the controversy theories are absurd, that doesn't prove that the Moon landings did indeed occur. Having debunked the controversy theories, it is time to look at some important proofs that lunar landing did occur.

Lunar Rocks

Rocks brought back from the lunar surface have been examined by scientists all over the world, and have been confirmed as extraterrestrial. They lack signs of water activity, which is seen on all Earth rocks, and are older than any Earth rocks. 
No peer-reviewed journal (which is the only kind of journal accepted in science; self-published stacks of photocopied and stapled sheets of paper don't count) has ever approved a paper doubting the veracity of these claims.

Third-Party Corroboration

As stated before, radio signals sent from the Moon were received in radio stations all over the world. No country in the world doubted the American claim of having sent men to the Moon. Even the Soviet Union, fiercely locked in the Cold War with the US, confirmed the achievement.

Videos On The Moon

Videos of the moon buggy in the Apollo 15 and 16 missions show the dust raked up by the buggy falling in a pattern that is expected in lunar conditions. On Earth, the different atmospheric conditions and higher gravity would result in a different trajectory of the dust.

We Still Have The Spacecraft

If NASA wanted to fake the Moon missions, they would have either had to spread the conspiracy to at least another level and commission fake and dysfunctional parts, or else commission real parts to fake the real landing. 
NASA sought the help of experts in aeronautics and engineering from all over the world to build the spacecrafts. If it was all a planned conspiracy, at least one of them would have come forward in the 40 years since the Eagle landed.
If the parts were fake, the spacecraft would have been subjected to testing and examination to see if it would have survived the trip, and the truth would have come out.

Apollo Missions Were Tracked

The flight path of the Apollo spacecrafts was released to the public, through which various enthusiasts (solo or groups) tracked the lunar landing.


Astronauts in various Apollo and Luna missions left retroflectors (like the cat's-eyes seen on the road) on the Moon. These devices have not just been confirmed by independent laboratories and institutions, but are actually used as targets for lasers.

So, What Did We Learn?

You know what, faking a Moon landing is not that hard. No, really, it's surprisingly easy. You do everything in the conspiracy theory manuals, and that's that. The hard part comes afterwards. How do you keep your own scientists, technicians, engineers, filmmakers, film technicians, and studio owners silent? How do you keep manufacturers silent? How do you keep independent observers silent? How do you keep your political rivals silent? For 40 years!
A lot of the conspiracy theories behind the Moon landings emerge from a stubborn refusal of the theorists to accept the seemingly 'impossible' explanations of apparent anomalies that boggle their own tiny minds. 
They don't take the efforts to get to know what happens behind the scene, and shoehorn everything they can't understand into their own crackpot theories, even ignoring the fact that the scenarios in their theories, ironically, really are 'impossible'.
Despite all their rants about a sound stage in Nevada, no controversy theorist has come up with a photograph or even documented evidence of any such place. Despite their clamor over the 'C' rock, they haven't been able to find a single prop manager who labels his props in this fashion.
Despite their obsession with the disappearing crosshairs, they can't find a single photo whose modern scan doesn't reveal the crosshairs in their entirety.
No controversy theorist has ever made an argument about the Moon landings that has not been refuted by scientists.

Sure, Stanley Kubrick could have directed it. Sure, it could have been faked on a sound stage in Nevada. Sure, it could all just have been an implanted dream in all of our minds. 
There is nothing wrong with believing in something that doesn't go with the accepted paradigm. It may land you in a straitjacket, but paradigms aren't always correct, so being in a straitjacket may actually make you popular about 500 years later.
However, what conspiracy theorists should remember is that there is no real evidence supporting any of their theories whatsoever. Believing in something that is borne of the observed and tested evidence but is not accepted or known in the scientific community, that's cool.
Aristotle did it, Galileo did it, Newton did it, Planck did it, Einstein did it, Hahn did it. But believing in something that needs the evidence to be twisted and mangled just so that it can fit your belief, that is unscientific, irrational, and, above all else, just plain idiotic.