A video of Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin has racked up millions of views after it was shared with a false claim it shows him repeatedly saying the 1969 Moon landing was a hoax. The video comprises three different clips that have been taken out of context. One clip shows Aldrin taking part in a comedy sketch while the other two show him speaking about his legendary achievement.
“Buzz Aldrin admits Moon Landing was fake,” says the caption of a video posted on a Philippine-based Facebook page on March 16, 2023.
Meanwhile, sticker text that appears in the beginning of the video reads: “Buzz Aldrin Admits Not Going To The Moon.”
Aldrin — the second person to set foot on the Moon, after mission commander Neil Armstrong on July 20, 1969 — is the last surviving member of the Apollo 11 mission.
The two-minute, 43-second video, which shows Aldrin in three different occasions, has been viewed more than 12,000 times.
However, the claim is false. The video combines three different clips that were all taken out of context.
In the first 30 seconds of the video, Aldrin could be seen sitting at a desk and talking to the camera. “This is a secret I’ve been keeping for almost half a century,” he says. “On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and I pulled off humanity’s first extraterrestrial prank.”
It was posted by Team Coco, the official YouTube channel of the talk show host Conan O’Brien, on August 14, 2013.
The legendary astronaut made an appearance on “Conan” in response to a fan who said that O’Brien had mistakenly identified Aldrin as the first person to walk on the Moon.
In the video, Aldrin playfully defended O’Brien’s error by joking that he was actually the first man to land on the Moon and not Armstrong. He said just before leaving the space flight, he had switched space suits with Armstrong as a prank.
Audiences’ laughters could be heard throughout the clip as they listened to Aldrin’s joke.
Below is a screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading post (left) and the original video from Team Coco (right):
Screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading post (left) and the original video from Team Coco (right)
At the 31-second to 42-second mark, the misleading video shows an audience member asking Aldrin, “What is the most scariest moment of the journey?”
He replied: “Scariest? It didn’t happen. It could have been scary.”
A reverse image search of keyframes on Google found the second clip was taken from a video of an hour-long Q&A with Aldrin that was hosted by the Oxford Union, a British debating society (archived link).
The part shown in the misleading video starts at the 30:16 mark of the original YouTube video, posted on June 16, 2015.
It shows Aldrin making the remark in jest and the audience could be heard laughing in the background.
Other parts of the video show Aldrin recounting in detail his experience as the lunar module pilot on Apollo 11, including an incident involving a broken circuit break switch that almost prevented the crew from returning to Earth.
Below is a screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading post (left) and the original video from the Oxford Union (right):
Screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading post (left) and the original video from the Oxford Union (right)
The third and final portion of the misleading video, which starts from the 43-second mark up to the end, shows a young girl asking Aldrin: “Why has nobody been to the moon in such a long time?”
“Because we didn’t go there, and that’s why it happened,” he replies.
The 17-minute footage, titled “Zoey interviews Buzz Aldrin”, was taken during the 2015 National Book Festival in Washington, DC.
In the genuine video, Aldrin is answering questions about space expeditions. He does not deny that the Apollo mission happened: he simply explained why similar expeditions have not occurred since then.
In the 2015 video, Aldrin explains the importance of understanding “why something stopped in the past” in order for future expeditions to happen, and cites the need for “more money” as a factor.
He then proceeds to note that after the Apollo 11 crew came back to Earth and toured around the world, it was “most fascinating” to see how people around the globe viewed the Moon landing as a collective feat for mankind, not something simply achieved by the United States.
Below is a screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading post (left) and the original video from The Roarbots (right):
Screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading post (left) and the original video from The Roarbots (right)