For more than 40 years, people have lived in space over longer periods of time – first on the space stations Saljut and Skylab, today on the international space station ISS, and perhaps soon in a spaceship on its way to Mars. But man is not made for space. The universe is so hostile to life that humans can not survive there permanently. Skeptics, conspiracy theorists claim that all manned space travel is just a well-staged drama and the moon landing is the biggest lie of all. Since man has set out to conquer outer space and then the universe, conspiracy theorists accompany the work of scientists and explorers. And at the same time, UFOs (unidentified flying objects) have been sighted with claims of visits by your favorite martian aka extraterrestrials. Mankind’s advance into space has triggered the imagination of earthlings since humans first looked up at the stars. And so, in addition to the epochal discoveries, countless myths and legends have arisen as well.
The world is not enough for conspiracy theories. Since the first launches into space numerous myths and legends around space travel and astronauts abounded. The first images from space depicted our planet in spherical form. “All lies” was a cry heard immediately from so-called experts.: “The earth is and remains a disc”. To this day, there are advocates of the flat earth theory, which was actually refuted even before the birth of Christ.
The claim that the earth is flat was almost extinct, but the Internet is helping fuel this theory in a kind of renaissance of fools. Any kind of conspiracy theory ever invented in the context of space travel is getting a revival in the age of the world wide web. The biggest of all is the denial of the successful landing of man on the moon.
Hardly any other human event spawned such wild speculation as Neil Armstrong’s moon landing as well as the eleven other US astronauts. Just a few months after the first steps on the Moon, skeptics accused NASA, its scientists and astronauts, and the entire US government as liars. The landing never took place, the live images were recorded in Hollywood studios, the whole moon program is a huge bluff. To this day, despite proof to the contrary, the conspiracy theorists continue to beat the drum of denial.
But there is also a lot happening on planet Earth. Ever since man conquered space, first with balloons and then with airplanes, earth dwellers regularly sight unknown flying objects: UFOs. The first UFOs were reported at the end of the 19th century; at about the same time as the first attempts to launch aircraft heavier than air into the sky. The UFOs levitate alien creatures on Earth to collect humans as research objects or to keep in contact with the powerful leaders of the world. There’s more: US military are thought to have captured several extraterrestrials and keep them hidden in a secret facility, including the flying saucers they landed with. The site: A US Air Force test site in the Nevada desert known as Area 51.
But even everyday problems and phenomena of manned and unmanned space travel repeatedly create fodder for skeptics, doubters and conspiracy theorists. Sci Fi movies are also fantastic sources for creating new myths and legends.
In this Episode of Spacetime we try to shed some light on the dark realm of conspiracies, myths and legends. Astronaut Ulrich Walter explains what really happens to people in space, should they find themselves without a spacesuit. He shows us how to live and survive in weightlessness and why even flights deep into the solar system do not have to be lethal to humans. We look at what UFO sightings are all about and what’s behind them and why Area 51 is so mysterious.
We examine the surface of Mars, which appeared on the first photos of the Red Planet and terrified crowds of people. We explain the function of the warp drive and whether you can really travel through the universe with it. And of course we explain why man actually set foot on the moon.
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