The complete video shows that Aldrin didn't deny the moon landing. He was reacting to an audience question about the scariest moment of the mission.
Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were a part of the famous Apollo 11 mission that landed humans on the moon for the first time in 1969. Many conspiracy theories have since circulated regarding the moon landing. On January 15, 2023, an Instagram user shared a short clip with overlaid text saying "(Secret Footage)" and additional text with a voiceover saying, "Buzz Aldrin admits the moon landing was fake." In the video, a woman from the audience asks Aldrin about the scariest moment of his journey. In response, Aldrin appears to answer, "Scariest?... It didn't happen. It could have been scary." The user also captioned the post with hashtags such as "#moon #moonlanding #staywoke #wakeup #conspiracytheory." Other similar clips have been shared on Instagram with the same claim.
While Aldrin did say these words, he was saying that there was "no scariest moment" during the mission, not accepting that the moon landing was fake.
On June 7, 2015, Oxford Union published the complete video on its website with the caption "Buzz Aldrin - Q&A." The Oxford Union is a debating society in the city of Oxford, England, and draws its membership primarily from the University of Oxford.
The Q&A begins with the host asking Aldrin, "When you accepted the mission to the moon, how sure you were you would make it back?" Aldrin answers, "98 percent, 95 percent? That's what they told us." The rest of the debate consists of several other questions related to the moon landing. Aldrin replies with his experiences on the moon and the mission.
At around the 30:15 timestamp, a member of the audience asks Aldrin what the scariest moment of the journey was, to which Aldrin answers, "Scariest, it didn't happen; it could have been scary." The host then softly tells Aldrin something. Aldrin then discusses how a circuit breaker broke in the lunar module. "I looked down, and below this sort of dust, there was something that didn't look like it belonged there," says Aldrin. "There was a circuit breaker, a broken circuit breaker." He adds that he used a pen to push the circuit breaker to fix the problem. However, the viral Instagram video cuts off these remarks, leaving his "It didn't happen" comment without context. In reality, while Aldrin does make this remark, he does not mean the moon landing itself.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) website has a section devoted to Aldrin, which carries details about him and all his achievements. On the moon landing, NASA states, "On July 20, 1969, Buzz and Neil Armstrong made their historic Apollo 11 moonwalk, becoming the first two humans to set foot on another world. An estimated 600 million people – at that time, the world's largest television audience in history – witnessed this unprecedented heroic endeavor." NASA also has a page dedicated to the Apollo 11 mission, which carries minute details of the journey and its objectives.
Between 1969 and 1972, six Apollo missions brought back 382 kilograms of lunar rocks, core samples, pebbles, sand, and dust from the moon. More than 8,400 photos also prove the landings on the moon, apart from footprints and objects left behind on the moon, as a Forbes report sums up. Despite widespread documentation of the mission and findings from the moon, claims that the moon landing was faked have been rampant for years.
Aldrin's words at a Q&A session at the Oxford Union in 2015 have been taken out of context. Aldrin initially said there was no scariest moment during the mission but did not state that the moon landing didn't happen. Further, during the Q&A session, he spoke about many moments from his moon landing mission that contradict the claim. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false.