Astronaut Brian O'Leary
is not entirely convinced that the Apollo program
"Somehow I may have given the impression that Apollo may have been
hoaxed," says Dr. O'Leary.
O'Leary was initially skeptical when his astronaut friends who
continued in the program and flew the lunar landing missions gave
abbreviated answers to his questions. But he is quick to add that
they may just have been sick of being asked so many questions upon
their return. And he is sick himself of being asked about his
position on the Apollo hoax; when contacted in March 2009 to confirm
our quotes, O'Leary said this interview was his last public word on
The producers of Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the
Moon? contacted Brian O'Leary for an interview, promising to let
him talk about the Cydonia region of Mars -- O'Leary's prominent
interest at the time. Even though O'Leary mentioned several times
that he thought the Apollo missions were real, the producers used only
a few other quotes out of context to suggest that O'Leary had serious
doubts. He does not consider that interview to be a fair depiction of
Brian O'Leary once said
he thought NASA might have faked some of the photographs. [David
Dr. O'Leary gave a hypothetical situation in which he says it
might be "remotely possible" that NASA would have used studio
photography to fill in for film lost or damaged during a mission. But
he does not believe this actually happened. The distinction is
important: if one is asked hypothetically what situations might force
NASA to fake some of the record, that does not amount to endorsing a
claim that such action was actually taken.
David Percy says he believes only that the record was falsified,
and that astronauts may have in fact landed on the moon. O'Leary's
hypothetical scenario is not compatible with Percy's contention, but
Percy doesn't tell his readers that. Percy instead contends that
surrogate astronauts we never knew about were sent on missions to the
moon, and that the Apollo photographs and video we have today are
intentional fabrications describing events that never occurred, and
that no public record exists of any actual missions.
O'Leary's hypothetical situation merely provides a possible way
for NASA to have recovered from the minor embarrassment of having
performed a mission but losing or destroying through carelessness the
documentation of that event. The motives are dissimilar enough to
discount O'Leary's off-hand remark as support for Percy's hypothesis.
Nowadays O'Leary isn't so speculative. He's reasonably convinced
the Apollo program landed on the moon as NASA claims. "It was real,"
he says succinctly. "Apollo happened."
But if an astronaut
isn't fully convinced, and he worked right alongside Neil Armstrong
and Buzz Aldrin, doesn't that mean there's probably something
to the conspiracy theory?
Dr. O'Leary considers his working relationship with the more
notable astronauts strong evidence that the landings were not hoaxed.
"I knew the astronauts and thought they wouldn't lie, even if there
were a conspiracy."
O'Leary's prominence in the space program is a two-edged sword for
conspiracists. His work as an astronaut certainly places him at the
highest level of knowledge. No matter how few people one believes
might have known of a conspiracy, it would have been impossible to
fool the astronauts who were to have flown the missions. So on the
one hand it gives conspiracists a lot of credibility to be able to
interview a real live astronaut. But on the other hand it casts
serious doubt on the conspiracy theory. O'Leary doesn't have any
first hand knowledge of a conspiracy to falsify the lunar landings.
And he believes that if there had been one, he would have known about
it. If he hadn't, he believes the other astronauts (who would
certainly have known) would have told him.
(Quotations taken from a letter from Brian O'Leary, 29 August
2001, and from several letters in March 2009. All material used with