A Single Bootprint
One second she was looking through a microscope. The next, she was rushing toward the director’s office with her phone in hand, ready to share the shocking news.
The story they told the public had been cultivated for years, but now it was at risk of unraveling because of just one bootprint.
Ready To Work
Lisa Thurman smiled as she grabbed a large cup of coffee and got ready for her workday.
Even from a young age, she had been fascinated with anything to do with space. To some, it was an endless void. But to her, it meant endless possibilities. So, it wasn’t surprising to anyone that she had stayed in this job longer than most of her co-workers.
She leaned over the microscope and zoomed in on a swatch of fabric.
The new equipment was so much better than the old stuff they had been forced to work with. She could see right into the weave of the spacesuit. There was even a little bit of dust. The close-up, however, revealed two new problems.
First, the degradation of the area meant she needed to get another set of x-rays and run more tests to document the worn section properly..
The second problem was far worse. It was something she wanted to avoid at all costs – something she would rather have twenty consecutive root canals instead of facing.
Asking For Green
She had been vetted by the powers so she could be privy to little scraps of “classified” information. The interview was easily the tensest situation she had ever found herself in.
But still, that was nothing compared to the cold sweats she was about to have. She needed to ask for more money.
Please Sir, More
Lisa scowled and sighed. You would think the National Air and Space Museum would have plenty of funds to conserve Neil Armstrong’s suit.
This was not the case. She had to crawl to whoever had deep pockets and plead for scraps like some Victorian-era beggar. It was a harsh reality of her field. However, it would only be a few minutes until her day would be upended.
She was fuming about the prospect of mind-numbing fundraising when her co-worker rushed into the room.
He held out his phone and waved an article in her face. By his expression, it was going to be a pain. She skimmed through the words – each one making her frown grow deeper until it rested on the floor.
“You’re joking,” she said, thumping her head on the counter.
“Nope,” her co-worker said, sharing her annoyance. It wasn’t the first time something like this had popped up. In fact, there had been whispers floating around the public since the rocket first broke Earth’s atmosphere. But suddenly, a light bulb went off in her head.
Getting The Green Light
They had spent years nurturing the story – after all, keeping the public’s attention was like trying to get a four-year-old to pay attention to a physics lesson. Usually, it seemed like an almost impossible task.
But this new little nugget might have been exactly what she needed! She grabbed the phone and ran for the director’s office.
She grabbed the cup from the director’s hand and shoved it into the phone. Lisa grinned with satisfaction and pointed to the article on the screen.
It was another conspiracy theory about the moon landing. She had heard them all, but this new one focused on boots and footprints. And oh boy… were people reacting.
Using It To Their Advantage
She wasn’t all that surprised when rumors flew around the internet. After all, that was business as usual.
What really shocked her was people were just noticing this now?! “We can use this!” she said, jittering with excitement tapping on the hundreds of thousands of views and countless comments across several posts. “Let’s give them what they want.”
On the one hand, Lisa felt like skipping back to her office like a child playing hopscotch. But on the other hand, she was amazed at the fact people were so quick to believe what some joe-schmo ranted about.
Still, this was her chance. She was going to blow their minds. But she would need to nab a crucial piece of history from its display.
In Safe Storage
Neil Armstrong’s moon-mission space suit had been hidden from the public eye for 13 years.
They had exhausted their cataloging with the tech that was available at the time and had put it in protective storage. But they could bring it out again with new advancements (the ones Lisa was drooling over as she performed).
The viral post compared two photographs, one of the undersides of Armstrong’s boots and the other of the iconic first footprint on the moon’s surface.
The image was captioned: “Do you think the moon landing was real? This is Neil Armstrong’s astronaut suit, preserved in a museum. It clearly doesn’t match up with his footprints on the moon. Now you decide whether the moon landing was real or a hoax.” Lisa was ready to “fight” back.
Her first stop was to the archives to get the footwear that had netizens in a buzz.
The next part, however, was going to be insanely challenging. More than she could expect. Lisa begged her boss to let their team spread the entire suit out along the table – which was tricky because many pieces were degrading and delicate.
Let’s Do This!
It was time to show something to the world.
Even though it was old and wearing away, the complete set was still very heavy. They heaved and grunted to get everything in place so they could snap a few photos. Lisa took a deep breath, pulled up the NASA social media feed, and uploaded the truth.
Yep, No Match
“The photo you’re seeing isn’t Neil Armstrong’s footprint. If you want to see his boots, I’m afraid you’ll have to take a very long trip.”
But that wasn’t the end of the explanation. Lisa felt a surge of excitement. It was so rare to get people’s attention like this. She was about to kill two birds with one stone.
Many people know the iconic photo as documentation of the moment Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon and said: “That’s one small step for man… one giant leap for mankind.”
Captions of the image of the footprint in encyclopedias and magazine articles often say something like: “Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon.” So, what did Lisa’s teasing message mean?
“Actually, that’s Buzz Aldrin’s foot, and the solo boot print is his, not Armstrong’s. Aldrin took these shots around one hour after Armstrong took his first steps as he was documenting textures.”
In other words, countless writers and journalists in the past 50 years have mislabeled or miscaptioned these photographs. But what about the tread pattern in the footprint that was not on the astronauts’ boots?
The snippets of information had readers in a frenzy, demanding to know what was going on with that.
“The distinct tread is part of an ‘outer boot.’ Armstrong’s suit only has the inner boot left. To bring back samples, they had to leave some stuff behind.” Lisa readied her fingers for the final truth bomb.
More Shock And Awe
“But that’s not the real, shocking truth,” she typed, anticipating the readers’ reactions to the bomb she was about to drop.
“The reality is that the world might lose what little we brought back. We’re on the verge of watching our history crumble before our eyes.” She went on to describe the preservation and cataloging processes …
We Need Help
They needed to take x-rays inside the suit because they couldn’t take it apart.
They also had to preserve the rubber attachments and create a special framework to mount them in the museum.. And that was just a fraction of the task list. Next was digitization. They just weren’t high enough on the government spending list to get funds.
For The World To Enjoy
They wanted a digital version people could interact with. Lisa desperately wanted the suit to be ready for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Their “Reboot the Suit” campaign ended up exploding across the internet.
But would the sudden burst of public interest be enough to cover the hefty $500,000 bill? That was yet to see.
They made half a million and more!
Lisa giggled with glee. She could keep working on the project and job she loved. And it was all thanks to some wonderful nuts out there who decided to bring up another crazy space conspiracy. But with the museum’s feed still getting lots of attention, she dished out some more amazing facts…
Days Of Travel
The Apollo 11 Saturn V lifted off from the Kennedy Space centre at 09:36 on 16 July 1969, carrying three astronauts whose names would go down in history: Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin.
The journey to the Moon would last 4 days, 6 hours, and 45 minutes, finally landing on 20 July 1969.
Before landing, a series of alarm messages sounded that none of the astronauts had previously heard.
The alarms were caused by ‘executive overflows’ because the guidance computer could not complete all of its tasks and had to postpone some of them. After checking the alarm, computer technicians on the ground reassured the crew that it was safe to land.
Due to the gravity of the Moon and some extra speed gained, Armstrong and Aldrin had missed the landing site by about 4 miles and were instead faced an unfriendly sight of rough terrain and bus-sized craters.
They were forced to find a new landing site as soon as possible. Otherwise, the consequences could have been tragic.
No Pressure, Right?
Dwindling fuel supplies (just 5% fuel remaining) meant that Armstrong would have a mere 60 seconds to land the lunar module before having to abort the mission.
“We heard the call of 60 seconds, and a low-level light came on. That, I’m sure, caused concern in the control centre…They probably normally expected us to land with about two minutes of fuel left. And here we were, still a hundred feet [30 m] above the surface, at 60 seconds,” recalled Armstrong.
Upon landing on the Moon, Aldrin, who was a devout Christian, gave thanks for his safety by taking communion. But he took it privately.
The Pastor of his Presbyterian church prepared his communion kit. The chalice that Aldrin used on the Moon is still kept and treasured by his church as their pride and joy.
Nearly A Day On The Moon
Armstrong was the first man to step onto the Moon. 20 minutes later, Aldrin also left Apollo 11 and followed him.
Of the 21 hours and 36 minutes spent on the Moon’s surface, Armstrong and Aldrin spent 2.5 hours outside the module collecting data, setting up experiments, and taking pictures of the satellite’s surface.
An estimated 650 million people watched Armstrong and Aldrin become the first men on the Moon, bearing witness to a historic event that will be remembered for years to come.
From the lunar module on the Moon, Aldrin reflected on the enormity of the occasion. These were the words he used to describe his impressions:
“This is the [lunar module] pilot,” Aldrin started. Then, he uttered some words that went down in history.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way.”
In total, 12 men have walked on the Moon in 6 NASA missions. These missions ran over a three-year period ending in 1972. Since 1972 no other crewed mission has landed on the Moon, largely due to the huge costs involved.
The whole Apollo program cost an estimated $25.4 billion (about $156 billion in 2019 dollars).
First Flight Meets Space Flight
The Wright Brothers achieved the first recorded flight in 1903, 66 years before the first manned lunar mission.
Neil Armstrong saw it fit to take pieces of wood from the pioneering Wright plane and a piece of fabric from the plane to symbolize the great progress made in aviation.
The mission had such a large risk of failing, in fact, that President Richard Nixon had a speech at the ready in case of catastrophe.
As nobody had ever once landed on the Moon, it was not known whether or not it was even possible to take off from the Moon in order to return to Earth.
The astronauts left several items on the surface of the Moon, including pictures of human beings as well as audio recordings in several different languages to represent the global significance of the mission.
Medallions bearing the names of the three astronauts who perished in Apollo 1 on the launch pad and the two cosmonauts who perished in a similar accident were all left on the surface of the Moon as well.
In more than 70 years of space exploration, our knowledge of outer space has undergone tremendous progress. Or at least, that’s what we’re told. We have learned about and seen things our grandparents could only fantasize about or read about in science fiction novels.
However, some people call those discoveries into question and suggest alternative theories about what’s really out there. Here are some of those:
Mars, our neighbor red planet, has been the subject of many of those alternative theories. Some of them have even used NASA footage and photographs as alleged evidence.
For example, in 1976, NASA’s Viking 1 spacecraft took a picture of what seemed to be a face on the surface of Mars. Immediately, this fostered the wildest speculations.
Some people believed that the face was a sculpture of sorts, made by Martian people, either recently or in the past, to let the rest of the universe know about their existence.
Others suggest that the face might have been carved by some even further alien race who visited Mars in an attempt to communicate with Earth. And that isn’t all.
Other strange structures have been discovered on Mars that have attracted much attention and speculation. One of the most widely commented-on ones is the pyramids.
In general, earthly pyramids have been in the spotlight for many conspiracy theories for some time now; some people believe that they were built all over the world by the same ancient civilization. However, there’s an even more interesting theory.
Built By Aliens
Some people think that, ages ago, an alien race used to rule over the Earth; the same alien race would have instructed different civilizations to build pyramids.
Allegedly, this is the reason why we can see ancient pyramids in different parts of the world, from Egypt to Croatia, South America, and China. But that’s not all.
A Communication Device
Some even suggest that these pyramids might have been devices designed to communicate with outer space somehow and that the pyramids on Mars were built by the same race and for the same purpose.
In 2015, NASA’s Curiosity Rover found this pyramid-like structure on the surface of Mars. However, one thing that puzzled many people was its size.
Apparently, the pyramid found by the Curiosity Rover was about the size of a car. However, many people believe that it’s just the tip that’s on the red planet’s surface.
The rest of the pyramid would be buried deep into the Martian soil and would be a similar size to that of Egypt’s pyramids. But is that true?
We Can’t Know For Sure
It might take hundreds of years before we know for sure. Right now, no organization in the world is equipped with enough resources to carry that type of expedition.
Or at least, that’s what we’re told. However, some people believe that there are further reasons why we shouldn’t take what space exploration agencies say at face value.
Many conspiracy theories hint that NASA might not be telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about what’s really out there.
Some theories go even further; according to some people, everything that NASA says is fake. These people believe that NASA’s real function is not to explore outer space but something completely different.
According to these conspiracy theorists, what NASA has been about all this time is something way more simple: to manufacture and divulge hoaxes about outer space.
Their goal would be to instill the general population with a false mental map or representation of how space really is. But why? What would they even do that for?
“Space Is Fake”
The “space is fake” theory is held by many people with different beliefs. Some are flat-earthers; they think that, ultimately, all images and footage from outer space are faked in order to hide that the Earth is flat, not spherical.
However, some people go even further, although it would seem difficult to suggest a theory more outlandish than the “flat Earth” one.
A Higher Plan
To some, the faking of space is all a part of a higher plan by the world’s elites. This group of theorists argues that all throughout history, the powers that be have had just one goal.
That goal would be a world government: having all the people and territories in the world subject to the same authority. However, that’s not an easy thing to accomplish.
Space faking would be a part of this plan to impose a world government. The endgame would be to simulate a fake alien invasion in order to unite the whole world population against the perceived common enemy.
Under the guise of defending against the invaders, the elites would be able to do as they pleased with billions of people who would trust them to have their best interests at heart.
All these theories might sound outlandish to you, but you’d be surprised how many people believe them. But to each their own, right?
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.