On July 20, 1969, NASA astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins carried out the first human Moon landing. Conspiracy theorists have dissected the mission for decades, trying to prove humans never really went to the Moon. Some conspiracists, however, believe the crew of Apollo 11 encountered an alien UFO on their historic voyage and have accused NASA of a coverup.
One such conspiracist confronted the US space agency in 2006, demanding answers from NASA’s officials.
In a question posed to NASA’s Lunar Science Institute, someone said: “I know that it’s true that Apollo 11 did spot a UFO.
“Is it true that other hams could pick up the television broadcast was shut down during the spotting of the UFOs?
“If so, is it true that the hams could pick up Apollo 11 saying that the other spacecraft were spotted on the crater edge of the Moon and were much more advanced than Apollo 11 technology?”
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The US space agency has never acknowledged the existence of extraterrestrial life and has dismissed all claims to the contrary.
NASA’s official position is the crew of Apollo 11 did not see any UFOs on the Moon because there were none.
Dr David Morrison, who in 2006 served as the institute’s interim director, said: “I am sorry to disappoint you, but you are repeating stories that are known to be false.
“No astronauts saw ‘UFOs’. There are no secret Apollo transmissions, radio or television, picked up by hams.
“There was no case of Apollo astronauts spotting other spacecraft on crater rims or anywhere else.
There are no secret Apollo transmissions
Dr David Morrison, NASA
“These are well-known examples of fiction, what Jim Oberg calls ‘a space forgery hoax gone wild’.”
James Oberg is a former NASA engineer and space historian who has meticulously debunked UFO hoaxes over the years.
Mr Oberg said on his website: “From hundreds and hundreds of such stories and videos that I’ve studied, they all look to me to be ‘ordinary’ visual effects of human space missions, understandable public misunderstandings of normal space conversations, and predictable exaggerations, confabulations, and even fabrications of people who enjoy – or profit from – telling wild tales.
“I’ve seen no compelling indication of anything beyond the realm of modern science – nothing.”
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The expert believes such UFO hoaxes and conspiracies can be harmful, in particular, for children interested in space exploration.
He said: “They are insulting because belief that these stories are authentic requires the belief that generations of space workers, including astronauts, are liars, cowards, and/or fools.
“It’s even insulting to its believers, since the common manifestations of these stories on YouTube, pulp magazines, TV documentaries, and elsewhere generally seem to assume that the target audience consists of credulous eager-believers who know nothing about real space flight and prefer ego-boosting make-believe to difficult research and explication.”
As far as NASA is concerned, there is no evidence of alien life anywhere in the solar system that we have encountered.
Scientists are, however, excited about the possibility of simple microbial life once existing on Mars.
Before the planet turned into the rusty-brown dust bowl it is today, Mars once resembled a young Earth with oceans of water and a hot and humid atmosphere.
Missions like the upcoming launch of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover will search for signs of past life in ancient Martian soil.
NASA said: “Even if Mars is devoid of past or present life, however, there’s still much excitement on the horizon.
“We ourselves might become the “life on Mars” should humans choose to travel there one day.”
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