Wernher von Braun Strolling on the Moon

Wernher von Braun walking along the lunar surface. It's not an April Fool's joke. Credit: United Press International

Wernher von Braun walking along the lunar surface. It’s not an April Fool’s joke. Credit: United Press International

I often post strange or fun space history pictures from NASA’s amazing archives on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. The other days I posted this one showing Wernher von Braun strolling casually across the Lunar surface. I didn’t realize until after it was up that the date was April 1st. Many who saw it assumed it was some clever April Fools photoshoppery. It isn’t; it’s a real picture. 

 

Von Braun looks on at the lunar landing scene. Credit: United Press International

Von Braun looks on at the lunar landing scene. Credit: United Press International

What little I found about this picture was surprisingly hard to track down. It seems in the fall of 1969 there was fair held in Atlanta, Georgia, the Southeastern Fair. Coming on the heels of Apollo 11 successful lunar landing, it’s unsurprising that one of the exhibits was a mockup of Tranquility Base, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s landing site. As one of the key players in Apollo’s success – at the time he was the director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and widely known as the chief architect of the Saturn V launch vehicle – he was on hand when the exhibit was opened. This picture, along with a second where he’s seen in the foreground looking at the lunar scene, were transferred by United Press International on September 25, 1969.

 

Comments

  1. David Shomper, ex-Apollo engineer says

    Now the deniers will be coming out of the woodwork. “See? I told you it was faked!”

  2. says

    I thought I had seen every photo out there of von Braun but you go and surprise me with this one! Who knew the lunar landings took place in Atlanta. That explains why no one ever discovered the ruse. Hollywood was too obvious a place to fake this so someone at Marshall suggested Atlanta. Who would have thought to look for a fake lunar movie set in Atlanta? Genius I say!!! (Tragically there are 7% of the American people who claim to believe the lunar landings were faked.) Thanks for sharing this!!!

    • jtl1 says

      Mr. Carver, you should check out the Erik Bergaust bio on Dr. von Braun. The photo of him standing on the “moon” surface is there, just before the first appendix.

      By the way, your essay on von Braun and the Rocket Team was truly excellent. Your defense of the man was thoughtful and persuasive.

  3. says

    This is an efficient demonstration about the fact pictures always need to be complete by the context : when, where and how it was shot and others informations sometimes.
    This is the reason why we need to understand how our eyes and culture dictate the way we understand a picture.
    As an example, people says men never went on the moon : proof the flag, it is floating. Put if you look well to the picture, there is an arm for holding it. Why ? let fly the flag at half staff means defeate or dead which was not possible in the middle of the Cold War. Never forget the moon conquest was also a battle again soviet union….

  4. Gerald Arnold says

    Ultimately the Cold War presented two choices… either believe or the bomb. You’re either with us or with the communists. Sound familiar? In this system belief still trumps evidence. Would any of us volunteer to be placed inside of a giant microwave oven for and hour while siting inside a VW Bus for protection?

Leave a Reply