On July 20, 1969, NASA completed the seemingly impossible Apollo 11 mission to put the first two men – Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin – on the Moon. The pair made history when they stepped foot on the lunar surface, bringing an end to the Space Race by burying the US Flag in the surface. But their monumental achievement has long been overshadowed by outrageous claims that the Apollo programme was an elaborate NASA hoax, with up to 25 percent of Britons supposedly believing the claims.
Unearthed footage from 2008 shows the moment a BBC producer asked Brian Cox for his opinion on the claims during the filming of the “What on Earth is Wrong with Gravity?” series.
Dr Cox struggled to get his words out at first, in sheer disbelief of the audacity, before stating: “There are so many things that you could talk about, you could talk about, oh I don’t know, f*** it!
“It’s b******s, the Moon landings happened and it’s nonsensical to claim otherwise.
“It’s like saying America was never discovered, well yes it was.
Brian Cox was enraged
Dr Cox lost his cool with the BBC
The Moon landings happened and it’s nonsensical to claim otherwise
“Did we discover penicillin? Yes. Did we go to the Moon? Yes.”
Clearly agitated, Dr Cox expressed his shock that someone would ask him such a question during a factual documentary.
He added: “That’s the evidence, there’s no need for the information content or use for debating it anymore.
“I don’t even accept that it needs proving, because you would have to be a complete moron to think it.
“Are you really suggesting that in this programme, a scientific documentary programme about gravity, you are going to mention the Moon landings being faked?”’
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The scientist was asked if NASA ever went to the Moon
Asked if he read the script for the show, Dr Cox replied: “No, does it say something about the Moon landings?”
The producer then revealed: “We’re going to the McDonald observatory.
“The script has a comedy throwaway line, I’m not saying it didn’t happen, there's a line [you’re supposed to say] ‘of course it happened and we’re going to fire a laser at the Moon to show you’.”
The McDonald Observatory is located near the unincorporated community of Fort Davis in Jeff Davis County, Texas.
The observatory is part of the University of Texas at Austin and operates the first lunar laser ranging station to observe laser pulses reflected from the Moon’s surface.
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Lunar reflectors on the Moon
The lasers are reflected back to Earth
The Apollo 13 astronauts deployed a retroreflector on February 5, 1971, and the McDonald Observatory detected it the same day.
This helps to calculate the distance of the Moon from Earth precisely, as well as lunar libration, polar motion, weather and velocity of light.
More recently, fellow science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson was asked the same question and had a similar reaction.
He said in 2019: “Have you really thought about what it would take to fake the Moon landings?
“The rocket did launch, we all saw the rocket launch, so the hardware is there, like office building blueprints for the design of the Saturn V rocket.
Moon landing timeline
"Hundreds of thousands of engineering hours went behind this and the records are the designs.”
Dr Tyson went on to explain exactly why the ideas are ludicrous.
He added: “If you wanted to fake the Moon landings, you would have to fake all those documents.
“It just seems to me that it would be way easier to just go there.
“Has anyone considered that? Just go to the Moon! That is so much easier than faking all of this.
“So, yes, we did go to the Moon.”