LEBANON, OHIO—Apollo 11 mission commander and famed astronaut Neil Armstrong shocked reporters at a press conference Monday, announcing he had been convinced that his historic first step on the moon was part of an elaborate hoax orchestrated by the United States government.
According to Armstrong, he was forced to reconsider every single detail of the monumental journey after watching a few persuasive YouTube videos, and reading several blog posts on conspiracy theorist Ralph Coleman's website, OmissionControl.org.
"It only took a few hastily written paragraphs published by this passionate denier of mankind's so-called 'greatest technological achievement' for me to realize I had been living a lie, " said a visibly emotional Armstrong, addressing reporters at his home. "It has become painfully clear to me that on July 20, 1969, the Lunar Module under the control of my crew did not in fact travel 250,000 miles over eight days, touch down on the moon, and perform various experiments, ushering in a new era for humanity. Instead, the entire thing was filmed on a soundstage, most likely in New Mexico."
"This is the only logical interpretation of the numerous inconsistencies in the grainy, 40-year-old footage," Armstrong added.
Although Armstrong said he "could have sworn" he felt the effects of zero gravity while soaring out of the Earth's atmosphere and through space, he now believed his memory must be flawed. He also admitted feeling "ashamed" that he had failed to notice the rippling of the American flag he and Buzz Aldrin planted on the surface, blaming his lack of awareness on the bulkiness of the spacesuit and his excitement about traveling to the "moon."
"That rippling is not possible in the vacuum of space," Armstrong said. "It must have been the wind from an air-conditioning duct that I didn't recognize because you can't hear a damn thing inside those helmets."
"This is all just common sense, people," he added. "It's the moon. You can't land on the moon."
In a symbolic display of his newfound skepticism, Armstrong then grabbed a collection of moon rocks he had kept as souvenirs and dramatically dumped them into a trash can.
One of the main arguments posited on Coleman's website—that America could not, in 1969, have realistically possessed the technological capabilities needed to put a man on the moon—was reportedly one of the first things to cause the legendary astronaut a pang of doubt. Despite having spent thousands of hours training for the historic mission under the guidance of the world's top scientists, technicians, and pilots, Armstrong said he knew the conspiracy theories were true after learning that website author Coleman was "quite the engineering buff."
"Yes, at the time I thought those thousands of NASA employees were working round the clock for the same incredible goal, but if anyone would know what was really going on, it would be Ralph Coleman," Armstrong said of the 31-year-old part-time librarian's assistant. "He knows a lot more about faked moon landings than I ever could. He's been researching the subject on the Internet for years."
"Literally years," he added.
Addressing another inconsistency brought to light by OmissionControl, Armstrong explained he was probably so focused on piloting the lunar module that he failed to notice that one of the moon rocks visible in footage of the landing appears to have the letter 'C' stamped on it. An emotional Armstrong said that the only possible explanation for this detail was that the rock actually came from NASA's prop department.
"They forgot to turn it over," Armstrong said, removing his eyeglasses to wipe away tears. "Those lying bastards at NASA went through all the trouble to fake the moon landing, but they forgot to turn over one little prop rock. And now the whole damn thing's blowing up in their faces."
Although Armstrong initially questioned why the U.S. would attempt such an elaborate cover-up, he cited one overarching explanation provided by Coleman: that it was a ploy to defeat the Soviet Union and fulfill the Illuminati's plan to unify the world's banks and control the dissemination of information.
"Just ask Ralph Coleman," Armstrong said. "He'll answer any questions you have."
To conclude the press conference, Armstrong showed reporters footage of his first steps on the moon to demonstrate that the most daming evidence was "right under our noses." Speeding up the tape and replaying the graceful moonwalk several times in a row, Armstrong explained that the iconic images of humanity's triumphant dance with the cosmos was actually just a film of him walking backwards, slowed down, and played in reverse.
"What other explanation could there be?" Armstrong asked. "It's all right here. Everything is all right here if you'd just open your damn eyes and see!"
Added Armstrong, "I suppose it really was one small step for man, one giant lie for mankind."