The facts check on leaving this world?
A Russian mission to the moon will apparently include a task to see if the moon's landings in America were really real, a senior Russian space official said on Saturday.
Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, was responding to a question at an event about whether NASA actually landed on the moon nearly 50 years ago when it made the observation, the Associated Press reported.
"We set this goal to fly and check whether they are there or not," Rogozin said in a video posted on Saturday on Twitter.
The head of the Russian agency seemed to be joking, smiling and shrugging as he answered the question. But the conspiracies surrounding NASA's lunar missions are common in Russia.
The Soviet Union abandoned its lunar program in the mid-1970s, after four experimental lunar rockets exploded.
In 2015, a former spokesman for the Russian Research Committee called for an investigation into Nasa's lunar landings. Vladimir Markin wrote in an Op-Ed at a time when an investigation could reveal new insights into landings between 1969 and 1972.
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In a Moscow Times translation of the Op-Ed, Markin said an international probe could explain the filming disappearance of the original Moon landing in 1969 and the whereabouts of the lunar rock that was brought back to Earth.
"We're not claiming that they did not fly [to the moon]and simply made a movie about it. But all these scientific – or perhaps cultural – artifacts are part of humanity's legacy, and their disappearance without trace is our common loss. An investigation will reveal what happened, "he wrote, according to the Moscow Times.
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Nasa admitted in 2009 that the original recordings of the first landing on the Moon were erased and reused, but released restored copies of the original landing gear, Reuters reported at the time. Officials said the tapes were reused to save money and that the goal at the time of the landings was for a live broadcast.
Conspiracy theories, however, continued to emerge ever since the man first walked the Moon on July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to step on the lunar surface.
Last year, a new theory appeared on YouTube that the last landing on the moon, one of Apollo 17, was staged, despite insurmountable evidence to the contrary. One user stated in a video that a reflection of a stage assistant was visible on one of the astronauts' helmets, which provoked a split reaction in the video commentary.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.