Is NASA Keeping Anything from the American People?

NASA shares a lot of information with the public, both on their website and through the media. But just like any other government agency, they can use the Freedom of Information Act to their advantage, which, despite the name, actually allows them to withhold certain types of information. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why many of NASA’s actions are clouded in doubt. No one really knows if they are telling the whole story.

So, what’s the reality of the situation? Is NASA withholding information from the American people?

The Evidence

At first glance, there appears to be plenty of evidence that NASA has indeed duped the American people. Out of everything they have shared, the credibility of NASA’s claims regarding the Apollo 11 mission seems to be questioned the most. The photos from the moon-landing in particular raised some eyebrows back in 1969, and they continue to do so today.

But suspicions aren’t conclusive. Nearly every theory suggesting the first lunar landing was a hoax has been hotly contested by NASA—they seem to have a perfect answer for every question raised. For instance, many have pointed to the video from the moon landing showing the American flag Buzz Aldrin screwed into the surface flapping and waving in the wind. Since there is no wind in space, this brings up some serious questions about the validity of the video. However, NASA has come up with a clever response and attributes the flags motion to the inertia generated by twisting the flagpole into the ground. Makes sense, no? Almost too much sense, perhaps.

For example, in this explanation, NASA also has stated the moon is not devoid of gasses. The presence of moving air would most likely keep the flag moving, even in limited gravity. The fact that the flag doesn’t appear to change positions is in itself suspicious. Quite clearly there is more to this story than NASA is telling us.

Of course, the first moon landing is hardly NASA’s only suspicious activity. The 1986 Challenger disaster has long been a hotly-debated topic.  Deception and cover-ups are everywhere as current and former employees try to distance themselves from blame.

One has to wonder how or why such a detail-oriented scientific organization wasn’t prepared for something as simple as a colder-than-normal day. While it’s true the day of the launch was one of the coldest in Florida’s history, NASA should have been able to figure out whether or not it was safe to fly. Countless hours and millions of dollars were spent making this launch possible; the inability to respond to a change in temperature seems too simple of an explanation for such a catastrophic event.

Their Motive

First and foremost, NASA is run by people. These people, like the rest of us, aren’t perfect; they make mistakes and are often guilty of putting their own interests in front of others’. But, they’re also supposed to be the “best and the brightest.” This mixture of being imperfect but also freakishly smart gives NASA and its employees a reason and an ability to potentially tell the public a story different from what actually happened.

So, we may never know for certain if we actually visited the moon during the Apollo 11 mission, but let’s take a look at some of these “special interests” to try and determine if there was sufficient motive to keep things from the public.

Regarding the moon landing, we must remember it took place in the midst of the Cold War, and the space race was literally a flexing of political and scientific might to demonstrate our “dominance” over communism and the USSR. As such, being first was crucial—no matter what the methods.

If we were somehow unable to deliver on the real thing, the next best thing was to perform a highly elaborate staging to convince the world of American superiority. No one can debate that, if nothing else, the lunar landing proved to be a huge morale booster, whether it was real or not.

And with the Challenger disaster, we have yet another example of self-interest being put before public good. NASA’s employees were sick of setbacks and were concerned continued delays would put their federal funding in danger. As a result, management rushed the whole operation straight into disaster—in the end, fear of losing their job was integral to the misguided decisions surrounding the Challenger disaster.

While losing your job is scary, it’s hardly a reason to risk people’s lives and millions of taxpayers’ dollars. So even though they ultimately weren’t wrong—their funding did eventually get cut because they failed to produce any meaningful results year after year—their fanatical dedication to space exploration without everyday applications challenged NASA’s relevance, giving it a motive for rushing the Challenger launch and then covering up their mistakes.

Separating Fact from Fiction

Conspiracy theories aside, NASA is certainly guilty of advancing its own agenda and releasing specific facts to help monitor its image.  So whether you believe in these theories or not, it should be clear blind trust in government organizations is not wise. They may claim to be working for the people, but we cannot forget they have their own interests to protect.

This is why the media and freedom of speech are so important. The world needs people willing to nitpick every last thing NASA and other government agencies release publicly. This pressures them to either be very honest or extremely deceptive. But lies can only last so long, especially in the world of the Internet, which is why it is our moral responsibility to relentlessly pursue the truth.

What do you think? Can NASA be trusted? How can we make government agencies more accountable? Send us your thoughts in the comments below.

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