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Fact Check: There’s More to an Image Allegedly Showing Astronauts Not Wearing Helmets on the Moon Than Meets the Eye

In World
May 29, 2024


A photograph showing a group of astronauts without their helmets on indicates that the moon landings were staged.


Rating: False

Rating: False

For years, claims have spread across social media that a photo supposedly showing three astronauts not wearing helmets on the moon meant the moon landings were staged.

A TikTok post from May 2024 showed the photo in question. The caption read, “A rare photo of the 3 astronauts on the moon breathing fresh air without their helmets.”

We found the image posted on other social media platforms, like X and Facebook.

We previously wrote about this image in 2017, when we found it was real. The image was posted on both Getty Images’ and Flickr’s websites. According to a fact-check from news agency Agence France-Presse, it was taken at Kennedy Space Center, which is located in Florida — not the moon.

The caption for the image on Getty Images read:

Apollo 16 astronauts (L-R) Charles M Duke, John W Young, and Thomas K Mattingly II take a break during a training exercise in preparation for the Lunar Landing mission, US, 6th February 1972. Duke is the Lunar Module pilot, Mattingly the Command Module pilot, and Young the Commander on the Flight scheduled to lift off April 16th.

Those three astronauts landed on the surface of the moon on April 21, 1972. When they reached the moon, they wore their helmets.

We’ve previously fact-checked other claims that allegedly prove the moon landings were fake, like a false claim that Stanley Kubrick directed the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969.


“Apollo 16 Astronauts Charles M Duke, John W Young, and Thomas K…” Getty Images, 7 Oct. 2021, https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/apollo-16-astronauts-charles-m-duke-john-w-young-and-thomas-news-photo/1345335451.

Evans, Ben. “Apollo 16: Remembering the Penultimate Moon Mission, 50 Years Later.” Astronomy Magazine, 21 Apr. 2022, https://www.astronomy.com/observing/apollo-16-remembering-the-penultimate-moon-mission-50-years-later/.

Evon, Dan. “Did Astronauts Remove Their Helmets on the ‘Moon’?” Snopes, 4 May 2017, https://www.snopes.com//fact-check/astronauts-helmets-moon/.

Ibrahim, Nur. “Footage Shows Stanley Kubrick Directing the Moon Landing?” Snopes, 3 Mar. 2024, https://www.snopes.com//fact-check/stanley-kubrick-moon-landing/.

NASA on The Commons. Apollo 16 Astronauts Train for Lunar Landing Mission. photo, 6 Feb. 1972. Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/nasacommons/9457444081/.

“This Image Shows Astronauts Training and Is Being Used out of Context.” Fact Check, 6 Aug. 2019, https://factcheck.afp.com/image-shows-astronauts-training-and-being-used-out-context.

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