6.8 Is the “Moontruth” video an outtake from the fake TV broadcast?

IN A NUTSHELL: No, it’s a prank, specifically a viral video shot in 2002 by a British advertising company.

THE DETAILS: A video widely available on the Internet is often presented as a leaked outtake from the faking of the Apollo 11 moonwalk, showing Neil Armstrong as he climbs down the ladder of the Lunar Module and starts to say “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for m...” until an overhead bank of studio lights comes crashing down and a film crew comes into view while a director’s voice yells “Cut!”.

Figure 6.8-1. The Moontruth video (The Viral Factory, 2002).

This video can be recognized by the Moontruth.com caption, but it’s not evidence that the Moon landing videos were faked and the outtakes were leaked: it’s actually an Internet prank created in 2002 by The Viral Factory, an advertising agency based in London, United Kingdom, to promote itself through word of mouth and create buzz (pun intended) about its work.

Today Moontruth.com is an empty shell, but in 2002 it was owned by the British ad company (as documented by a Whois ownership query conducted at the time) and it contained text that claimed that the video was an “Apollo 11 Moon Landing Footage Out-take.” However, easily revealed hidden pages explained the prank:

The clip is FAKED. It is not an out-take leaked from a NASA top secret reel. It was done in a studio, for fun, and to entertain webheads like us.

Yes, the clip is fake. It was shot in a studio in London in spring 2002. It was based on an idea by director Adam Stewart, who was a space exploration nut. He had read the conspiracy theory sites and decided he wanted to make a spoof based on the idea that the Apollo 11 moonlanding was faked. [...]

We shot on original 1960's Ikegami Tube Camera in Mount Pleasant Studios in London. The guy in the suit is an actor. The rest of the 'cast' were basically the crew, who thought the idea was very funny and wanted to be in it.

The landing craft and 'moonscape' were a set built by our art director, Richard Selway. The ladder that 'Neil' descends was made according to original blueprints that were downloaded off the Net. The rest of the set was built to match the original as closely as possible.

The moon surface was cement dust. It was disgusting. Even with the studio ventilation on full it got everywhere, and at one point there was so much of it floating round, the lights were flaring really badly.

The footage was treated in post-production to give 'Neil' his weightlessness and the ghosting effect of the original. We re-recorded and processed the soundtrack to recreate the effect of sound traveling all the way from the moon.

We think it's pretty convincing, and one thing's for damn sure – it was a lot cheaper than really going to the moon.

Figure 6.8-2. The explanation of the Moontruth video (2002), preserved at Archive.org.

This explanation is currently preserved at Archive.org and the true origins of this video are recorded in detail by the well-known Snopes.com hoax debunking site. A few videos showing the production of the clip are still available online (Figure 6.8-3).

Figure 6.8-3. Behind-the-scenes footage from Moontruth (2002).