In 1976, a self-starter former US Navy officer called Bill Kaysing sat down and wrote a book called We Never Went to the Moon: America’s Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle. Now it turns out, old Bill didn’t know anything about rockets or technical writing, but he didn’t let that stop him. As they say, don’t let the truth get in the way of a good conspiracy theory. Then in 1980 the Flat Earth Society weighed in and suggested that Hollywood staged the landing – and they’re just a few of the theories that have poured in thick and fast since the 60s. As recently as 2001 the Fox television network made a doco claiming NASA faked the landing in 1969 to win the Space Race.
And somewhere, deep down, lots of us kind of want to believe it. Because landing on the moon is a good story, right? But faking a moon landing and getting away with it for all these years is even better.
As it turns out, a single physicist and his handy formula have apparently just debunked all the hoax theories in a single neat formula. Dr David Robert Grimes is a physicist, biologist and journalist and he recently came up with an equation that tests the viability of large-scale collusion. It considers the number of potential conspirators in relation to the passage of time and the chances of a leak. He found that in order to fake the moon landing, you’d need to keep 411,000 people quiet. That would have been all of NASA’s employees in 1965, and even then, he found that the secret would be out with 3.68 years.
Dr Grimes has also applied his theory to current-day climate change conspiracists, warning in this Guardian article that,“While daft notions on moon landings may be harmless, with climate change it can mean we sleepwalk into damaging inertia.”