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You’ve Got to be Kidding!

For those of you alive during the first moon landing, I am sure you share my shock that fifty years have passed since that event. I remember sitting in my parent’s living room, watching our black and white television, and seeing Neil Armstrong utter his now famous ‘One small step…” quotation.

I don’t think the lunar module had even lifted from the surface of the moon, when the conspiracy theories began to evolve. ‘It never happened; It was Fake News; They landed in Sudbury,’ and so on. I remember wondering how anyone could believe such a fantastic event never happened.

I dug into it more and more over time, and although I am convinced the US did land on the moon in 1969, I can see why people questioned the entire spectacle. It all began with John F. Kennedy announcing that ‘An American will set foot on the moon in the sixties’.

It was quite a statement to make ‘off the cuff’. NASA was nowhere near ready to tackle the task, but hey, America’s reputation was now on the line, and nothing was more important than beating the Russians; more important than fighting starvation, curing disease and worrying about the environment.

NASA funneled all its resources to the project, and bolted through problem after problem. Most were resolved or work arounds were found, until one day, a fatal fire in a lunar capsule caused the deaths of three astronauts. An investigation was held and causes were determined, but it was such an obvious lack of attention to detail that caused the catastrophe. Faulty wires caught fire and the capsule door opened inward. Even I know that pressure builds higher in an enclosed place during a fire, and opening a door inward is next to impossible… and it was.

Shortly after the accident an employee of NASA, Thomas Baron, was fired. He went public with a five hundred page report outlining continuous mistakes, made to cut corners. Ongoing warnings from him to his superiors about potential problems caused his dismissal. He was a quality control inspector. The only avenue open to him was to go public, and he did. A week later he died in a mysterious car accident and his 500 page report was never seen again. In fact, the police report lists the death as suicide, but I question who takes their entire family with them on a suicide run, and washes the car twenty minutes before doing so?

I don’t believe for one instant we didn’t set foot on the moon, but I continue to question why? We knew nothing about it, had no idea of the massive radiation belt, which we have not been able to cross since, and have made no effort to return in 47 years. Think of the money, time and lives spent on a project, only because the president said we should. Thank goodness times have changed. Call me if you want to buy a piece of Moon rock (which is really made of cheese).

Jonathan van Bilsen is a published author, an award winning photographer, columnist and keynote speaker. Follow his adventures at

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