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Astronauts Gone Wild

Astronauts Gone Wild

Astronauts Gone Wild is a 2004 film made by Bart Sibrel, a filmmaker from Nashville, Tennessee who charges that the six Apollo moon landings in the 1960s and 1970s were elaborate hoaxes. Sibrel made this film, 53 minutes in length, as a follow-up to his 2001 video A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon, which accuses NASA of falsifying the Apollo 11 mission photography. He also appeared in the TV special aired on the FOX network in 2001, called Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon?. More recently he made appearances radio programs expanding on his conspiracy theory viewpoint and explaining why he believes that no man has ever set foot on the Moon.

Encounters with Buzz Aldrin

In the film Astronauts Gone Wild, Mr. Sibrel confronts nine Apollo astronauts and asks them to swear an oath on a Bible that they did, in fact, voyage to the moon and back. His first televised encounter is with the Apollo 11 crewmember Buzz Aldrin. Inside an office room, he shows Dr. Aldrin his "secret" footage, which Sibrel says was sent to him by mistake from NASA. According to Sibrel, this footage shows the crew rigging a shot inside their spacecraft to appear halfway to the Moon, when they were really in Earth orbit and trying to deceive the world. Aerospace engineer Jay Windley is among those who claim that Sibrel has misinterpreted the video. He points out that the scene of Earth in the footage shows a cloud pattern that remains constant throughout the video, something that would not be possible if the crew were in Earth orbit. Furthermore, if a transparency were really used to simulate the appearance of Earth in deep space, as Sibrel has claimed, it could not adequately fake the weather conditions that have been documented as taking place in July 1969.

Aldrin dismisses Sibrel's arguments, stating "We went to the Moon; we're not misleading anybody." Later in the film, Sibrel confronts Aldrin on another occasion, this time in September 2002 in Beverly Hills, California. The filmmaker makes his Bible request. When the ex-astronaut refuses and tries his best to get away from the man, Sibrel follows Aldrin and calls him "a coward and a liar and a thief..." Having had enough of Sibrel's stalking tactics, Aldrin punches the man on camera. This incident, which made national headlines at the time, is the best known response he received from one of the Apollo astronauts about his conspiracy belief. Interestingly, in a recent radio interview, Sibrel stated that he blames himself for provoking Aldrin to punch him. He claims to have sent Aldrin a letter of apology.

Encounters with other astronauts

As shown in the video, Sibrel also was able to interview astronauts Alan Bean, Gene Cernan and Ed Mitchell about the Apollo project. Bean, for instance, states that the full-up testing of the Saturn V rocket cut months off the schedule and was an impetus in reaching the moon before decade's end. Cernan describes an experiment on his moon mission, Apollo 17, that was specifically designed to study the radiation of the Van Allen Belts. The interviews end with the request to swear an oath on Sibrel's Bible. He asks them to "swear and affirm, under penalty of eternal damnation, perjury and treason" that the astronauts really went to the moon. Cernan and Mitchell testify that they did indeed walk on the moon, taking the whole oath as Sibrel states it to them. Alan Bean is also willing to swear on Sibrel's Bible, though Sibrel shows him as unwilling to swear under penalty of treason.

Later, Mitchell had the following to say about his encounter: "Sibrel faked his way into my home with false History Channel credentials for an interview. After about 3-4 minutes, he popped the Bible question. Realizing who he was, I maintained my cool enough to swear on his Bible, then ended the interview and tossed him out of the house, with a boot in his rear."

The other astronauts Sibrel confronts are Michael Collins, Al Worden, Bill Anders, John Young and Neil Armstrong. He did not arrange formal interviews with any of these men, but was able to catch up with them at public events and make his Bible request. For the most part, these astronauts do the best they can to avoid him as soon as they find out that he supports the conspiracy theory. He confronts Armstrong at a meeting of stockholders in New York City, according to Armstrong's recent biography, First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong, by James Hansen. During interviews for the biography, regarding the hoax claims Armstrong said "It doesn't bother me. It will all pass in time. The Apollo 11 commander refuses to go along with his demands and states "Mr. Sibrel, you do not deserve answers." Meanwhile, Worden tells Sibrel that his claims of a falsified mission are "totally nonsense." He says that he has no problem swearing on the Bible of his trip to the Moon, but that he doesn't feel he needs to do so.

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