With the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 I have heard more than I care about the delusional segment of the public that insists we did not go to the Moon. Only for my peace of mind, I have imagined a conversation with a Moon landing conspiracist where I ask him if he believes people have been to Antarctica. (My satisfaction in this imaginary conversation depends on him saying “yes, ” but the beauty of me imagining this conversation is that I do, in fact, get to decide what the other person says.) So he says “Yes, of course!” to which I reply, “Why?”. Well, you can imagine the responses to this as well as I can, because presumably you also believe people have been to Antarctica, and unless you have personally been there yourself (and I know some of you have), all your reasons for believing people have been to Antarctica are the same as the reasons for believing people have been to the Moon: we have seen pictures of people there; we have talked to people who have been there; we have seen things that were brought back from there; we have seen the machines that take people there. Qualitatively, (unless, again, you have been there yourself), there is no difference in the evidence for people going to the Moon and the evidence for people going to Antarctica. My imaginary debater can then only fall back on the idea that going to the Moon is implausibly hard, to which I wonder if he believes that I can store thousands of books, pictures, songs, and movies on a device the size of a matchbook and why he thinks that is easier that sending a rocket to the Moon. In my imagination, my foe is crushed on the withering force of my logic. In reality, of course, there is just no arguing with some people.

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Planetary Scientist and Asst. Professor of Physics at University of Central Florida; Movie Buff; Trekkie; Jethro Tull fanatic; part-time actor, piano player, writer; and full-time husband and father.

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