By now you’ve no doubt seen and heard the case that conspiracy theorists have put forth regarding their belief that NASA never actually landed on the moon. They believe that, for a number of different possible reasons, the original moon landing and all subsequent visits to the lunar surface were nothing more than a big Hollywood-level production. Evidence, of course, is harder to come by, but by scouring some vintage photos of the Apollo 17 landing that were only just released in recent years, they think they’ve finally nailed NASA in a history-shattering lie.

The photo in question is pretty innocent at first glance, showing one of the Apollo 17 astronauts standing next to a large rock outcropping, with a small instrument sitting on the dusty lunar surface in front of him. However, the person taking the snapshot is visible in the astronaut’s reflective visor, and if you’re buying what the moon landing truthers are selling, he doesn’t have a space suit on.

The image speaks for itself, and depending on what you want to see you can either make a case that the truthers might be on to something, or that the distortion of the visor has pinched and stretched the reflection in a way that makes the astronaut appear to be wearing something much less bulky:

The conspiracy angle would be that the person seen in the reflection is a crew member of the moon landing “production,” standing off to the side and never meaning to be photographed at all. On the more conservative side of things, it’s easy to see how the entire reflected image is pinched and distorted, and if you widen things a bit, the individual starts to look more like what you imagine an astronaut (made up of a couple dozen pixels) looks like:

This stretched image is particularly useful because you can also more easily make out what appears to be a large backpack on the figure casting a shadow onto the lunar surface. That little tidbit would seem to support the official version of things, which is that Apollo 17 landed on the moon, as did several missions before it.

 

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