Combating the Moon Myth

Jason Arquette
Professor Hirsh
Blog 11u
October 18th, 2017

Doctor Roger Launius faithfully serves as Chief Historian for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and his career has been dedicated to the historical study of aerospace and the United States’ role in space exploration. In 2017 Dr. Launius posted an article onto his personal blog site entitled “Considering the Moon”. In the article he describes the cultural, historical, and even scientifically significance of the moon. For instance culturally, the moon has been adopted as a symbol of romance by America and many other regions. Scientifically, the moon has been used for centuries by early astronomers to predict weather patterns year round. However by the end of the article Launius approaches the moon from his most compelling perspective: history. Discussing the rivalry between the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cold War Launius argues that the Moon “held enormous potential as a public relations coup for the nation reaching it first”. So effectively, as a representative of NASA Launius’ article argues that from a variety of perspectives, the moon has held significance for centuries and more importantly that landing on its surface was an enormous accomplishment for the United States.
However, not everybody shares Launius’ reverence for the silver disc in the sky. According to another article published by the National Air and Space Museum, upon the celebration of the fortieth anniversary of America’s moon-landing news outlets and a faction of the general population argued that America never landed on the moon. Made cynical by government scandals that would take place in the years following the moon landing it was argued that the entire event was staged. Furthermore, because the landing took place amidst very public federal failures including the Bay of Pigs Invasion historians have concluded that President Kennedy’s declaration to land a man on the moon was a distractive tactic. So while the traditional narrative remains that America went to the moon for scientific and nationalistic reasons, as time has passed the creation of an alternative story has slowly seeped into the general understanding of the event.

Word Count: 340

Works Cited:
“Considering the Moon.” Roger Launius’s Blog. July 24, 2017. Accessed October 19, 2017. https://launiusr.wordpress.com/2017/07/31/considering-the-moon-2/.

“Why Do People Persist in Denying the Moon Landings?” National Air and Space Museum. March 22, 2017. Accessed October 19, 2017. https://airandspace.si.edu/stories/editorial/why-do-people-persist-denying-moon-landings.

  1 comment for “Combating the Moon Myth

  1. hryan
    November 1, 2017 at 11:34 pm

    Does it matter that Launius posted this to his personal website instead of a NASA one? Is he still acting as a representative of the agency or does using his own site mean that he is expressing ideas as a private citizen? It’s weird but the meaning and significance of a source can change entirely based on its context.

    Fun moon fact: John Young was the Commander of Apollo 16 and until he retired in 2004, NASA colleagues would print out articles claiming the moon landing was fake and tape them to his office door to bug him.
    -HR

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