10 Widely Believed U.S. Government Conspiracy Theories

The Moon Landing Was Faked
Pilot Harrison H Schmitt stands on the lunar surface near the U. S. flag during NASA's lunar landing in 1972. Some conspiracy theorists think all moon landings were faked because a flag couldn't wave in a windless place. Universal History Archive/Getty Images

In regard to Neil Armstrong's 1969 walk on the moon, it was certainly one small step for a man and the launch of one giant conspiracy theory for cynics everywhere. Allegedly, every moon-involved shebang was fabricated in an attempt to win the Space Race. Among the evidence? The flag waved. You couldn't see reflections of photography cameras in the space helmets. There was no crater from the landing. Shadows were weird. Stars weren't visible. The list of complaints and apparent inconsistencies is endless.

Let's take the most popular argument against the credibility of the moon landing, the apparent waving of the American flag, which, as critics are quick to point out, can't happen in a windless, vacuum environment. Scientists offer two explanations for this "phenomenon." First, the astronaut had to twist the flagpole to secure it into the moon's surface [source: TIME]. Anyone who's ever endeavored to set up a beach umbrella knows that requires significant movement. Second, inertia from when the astronaut released his hold on the flag kept it moving [source: Than].

Since the vast majority (and by that I mean nearly all) of Earth's population has never been to the moon, we are largely uneducated on the many ways it is atmospherically different from our own little planet. As a result, it's tough to make a serious argument about how things "should be," because we don't really know or understand the variables involved.