FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show Astronauts With Their Helmets Off On The Moon?

Trevor Schakohl | Legal Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows astronauts on the moon with their helmets off.

Verdict: False

The image actually shows Apollo 16 astronauts during a training exercise on Earth in 1972.

Fact Check:

The image in the Facebook post shows three men in space suits without helmets standing on a rocky landscape with a rover. “So, these guys on the Moon took a moment to take their helmets off for this picture…” text in the image reads, seemingly implying that the astronauts had faked their presence on the moon.

A human being without a spacesuit would lose consciousness in 15 seconds and die of asphyxiation within 90 seconds in the vacuum of space, according to Insider.

The image in the Facebook post does not, however, show astronauts on the moon without helmets. It appeared in the NASA History Office book “‘Before This Decade is Out….’ Personal Reflections on the Apollo Program,” where the caption describes the crew as posing “during a training exercise at the Kennedy Space Center” in Florida.

NASA also published the photo on Alamy, where the description states it shows “Apollo 16 astronauts (left to right), Lunar Module Pilot Charles M. Duke, Commander John W. Young, and Command Module Pilot Thomas K. Mattingly II during a training exercise in preparation for the Lunar Landing Mission.” It dates back to February 1972, according to the description. (RELATED: Do Neil Armstrong’s Space Boots Not Match A Footprint He Left On The Moon?)

Apollo 16 launched on April 16, 1972, landed on the moon on April 20, 1972, and returned to the Earth’s surface on April 27, 1972, according to the Lunar Planetary Institute. Despite numerous photos published by The Planetary Institute’s Apollo Image Atlas showing astronauts wearing helmets on the surface of the moon, 6 percent of respondents to a 2019 C-SPAN and Ipsos poll said they believed the Apollo 11 lunar landing was staged.

Trevor Schakohl

Legal Reporter
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