This photograph is courtesy of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, specifically the NASA History Office and the NASA JSC Media Services Center.
In 1961, President Kennedy announced that the United States would go to the moon. Eight years later, the Apollo 11 astronauts set foot upon its surface. Millions of Americans watched live on their televisions as it happened, but somehow the pinnacle of man’s achievement became a wellspring of conspiracy theories. In this first episode of a two-part series on the moon landing, Jill Lepore traces the explosion of conspiratorial thinking that began with Apollo 11’s lift off — a path winding from awe of science, to the unshakeable faith that everything is a conspiracy. The more extraordinary scientific research and technology got, the more difficult it became to keep sight of the line between fact and fiction, and between the believable and the unbelievable.