Home Space Strangest Theories From The Space Race Era
Space By Joe Burgett -

Within the realm of the notorious “space race” between the United States and Russia, a subset of individuals embraces wild conspiracies. Over time, we have covered some of these theories, and we recommend exploring them once you finish reading this article. The enigmatic allure of the space race era has led people to adopt peculiar beliefs, prompting the question: why? While some can articulate thought-provoking concerns that challenge one’s convictions, others simply gravitate towards these theories without offering substantive justifications, driven solely by their desire to believe.

When it comes to specific alien theories, Area 51 often emerges as a focal point, as the United States government’s failure to promptly acknowledge its existence inadvertently fuelled suspicions. Consequently, one can understand why people entertained the notion that the base housed extraterrestrial life. In reality, Area 51 functioned as a classified Air Force base engaged in secretive research and development of weapons and aircraft, yet the secrecy surrounding it naturally spawned imaginative speculations. While it is crucial to approach these peculiar theories with a level-headed mindset, comprehending their origins, it is equally important to debunk baseless claims. With that said, let us embark on this captivating exploration.

Strangest Theories From The Space Race Era
[Image via Helen Rosner/Shutterstock.com]

The Moon Is Made Of Cheese

It is likely most people do not believe the moon is actually made of cheese. Yet this was commonly referenced in cartoons and even some books for a long time. It is likely due to how the moon sort of looked like cheese due to its specific holes and whatnot. However, many believe the idea for this came from The Proverbs of John Heywood back in 1546. He wrote that “the moon is made of a greene cheese.” It was not taken seriously even during this time period. People would often claim that “you’re trying to make one believe the Moon is made of green cheese.” Meaning, you’re wanting them to believe in a hoax or false claim. This became one of the strangest theories from the space race era, as some people genuinely thought the moon was made of cheese.

Strangest Theories From The Space Race Era
[Image via Stanley Kubrick Productions/MGM/KOBAL/Shutterstock.com]

The Moon Landing Was Faked

We really needed to get this one out of the way, because we have addressed it a lot on the website. There are people who believe that the moon landing was faked and filmed in a studio somewhere in Hollywood. Some have gone as far as believing that Stanley Kubrick, who was the genius behind 2001: A Space Odyssey, directed this moon landing video. However, this is untrue. We can even prove it, but not because of the flag we left behind. It’s white now due to so much debris. We actually left reflectors up there, so you can look at the moon in a proper telescope and see them. Proving we went there because we obviously did not send up satellites or rovers by this point in history. How else could those reflectors get there? Magic?

Strangest Theories From The Space Race Era
[Image via Marka/Universal Images Group – Getty Images]

The U.S. Government Sent A Chimp To Space To Create A Super-Soldier

You read that header correctly. We didn’t call this list the strangest theories from the space race era for no reason. This specific issue stems from the fact that NASA actually did send a chimpanzee into space. On November 29, 1961, a chimpanzee called Enos became the first chimp to orbit the Earth. He was also one of only two primates to reach this territory. He flew on NASA’s Mercury-Atlas 5 or MA-5 mission. NASA, being relatively new at the time, was being put to work and wanted to get astronauts into space. As Russia sent the first man into space, Yuri Gagarin, in April of that very same year. They wanted to get to the moon before Russia, and Enos was their way of testing how primates would handle it. Yet he did not come back as a super-soldier, but he did at least come back safe.

Strangest Theories From The Space Race Era
[Image via National Geographic]

The Soviet Union Secretly Sent Cosmonauts To The Moon Before The U.S.

This might be one of the craziest theories on our list of the strangest theories from the space race era. You cannot tell us that the Soviet Union would ever want to cover up this accomplishment. It made worldwide news when Yuri Gagarin went into space and came back alive. He was a national hero! The Soviets knew that the United States was working on a way to get to the moon with a relatively new space program. To this day, Russia still admits that we beat the Soviets into space. Why in the world would the Soviets want to cover up that their cosmonauts made it to the moon before the United States? This would be absolutely insane. It would be a massive win for them, and they’d avoid ever having to claim the U.S. beat them at something in the middle of the Cold War.

Strangest Theories From The Space Race Era
[Image via Joe Burgett/Stable Diffusion]

The U.S. Government Conducted Secret Experiments On the Moon During The Apollo Missions

It should be noted that the United States most certainly did experiments on the Moon when they arrived. The astronauts notably did several experiments to find out some basic information about the ground, environment, rocks, etc. None of this remained a state secret, however. It is widely believed that there were some secret experiments done at the time. However, anything that was done during all the Apollo missions is now 100% public record. Therefore, it is possibly true that secret experiments did take place but nothing is secret today. NASA has even released the entire correspondence with mission control for all the missions too.

Strangest Theories From The Space Race Era
[Image via TheArchaeologist.org]

The Space Race Was Only Done To Find The Lost City Of Atlantis On The Moon

Okay, we’ll need to explain this one a bit. One of the strangest theories from the space race era was that the Moon could be home to aliens. Some theorized that the lost city of Atlantis was never on Earth, but rather, on the Moon. Either that or it was somehow transported from the Earth to the Moon…which is why we cannot find it anywhere today. Yet we still hear so much about it from some older sources. Of course, as we know, the astronauts never found any traces of a civilization on the Moon. To be fair, it would likely be impossible for a race to live here. Considering there is an incredibly thin environment and they’d have no resources for food. There also wasn’t any water that wasn’t frozen either.

Strangest Theories From The Space Race Era
[Image via Russianspaceweb.com]

The Soviet Union Created A Secret Moon Base To Invade The Earth

There were quite a lot of rumors going on. This is obviously what led to so many of the strangest theories from the space race era in the first place. The big rumors that we know about today usually involve nonsense about the Soviet Union. Apparently, the Soviets had a secret base that was made in an effort to eventually launch an invasion of the Earth. More than likely, this theory was based on the concept that the Soviets had secret weapons there. Allowing them to launch these weapons at their enemies from the Moon, such as the United States. No such base has ever existed on the Moon. Even if it did, it would make more sense to attack from low-orbit space. It should be noted that the Soviets did have an idea for a lunar base, which they called Zvezda. However, it ended up never happening.

Strangest Theories From The Space Race Era
[Image via DanieleGay/Shutterstock.com]

The United States Government Covered Up The Existence Of Extraterrestrials

We already brought up the Area 51 drama. This is not the first situation where people felt that the government was hiding aliens. There have been several issues over the years, particularly with potential UFOs, where the government got involved. This led to removing anything they could from the crash spot of a UFO or trying to destroy any footage that got out. There have also been stories about how the government assassinated some people for “what they knew.” Of course, none of these things have been proven. Except for the cover-ups. Remember the Area 51 thing? The government has tested out aircraft made there and if they crashed somewhere, they made up cover stories to avoid discussing what actually happened. They have even started rumors, feeding reporters something juicy to throw them off the real story.

Strangest Theories From The Space Race Era
[Image via Joe Burgett/Stable Diffusion]

Astronauts Covered Up Evidence Of Alien Life During Gemini Missions

If you thought that the government covering up aliens was one of the strangest theories from the space race era, you’ll love this. During the Project Gemini Missions, which was NASA’s second human spaceflight program, astronauts may have hidden the existence of extraterrestrial life. Gemini started in 1961 and concluded in 1966, with the spacecraft carrying only two astronauts. From 1965 to 1966, ten crews went into low orbit space including a total of 16 astronauts. The goal was to nail home proper techniques to support the eventual Apollo mission to land on the Moon. During this timeframe, it is widely assumed astronauts saw alien aircraft but did not say anything. Either out of fear for what would happen to them or to not appear crazy. Especially since many of these astronauts wanted to be on the Apollo mission.

Strangest Theories From The Space Race Era
[Image via Castleski & NASA/Shutterstock.com]

NASA Found Evidence Of Ancient Civilizations On The Moon

Some conspiracy theories that do believe people went to the Moon have other beliefs. In one of the strangest theories from the space race era, those who bought that astronauts did not see aliens had another belief. They may have never seen any living aliens but they did see evidence that an ancient civilization once lived there. It should be noted that due to new technology, we’ve scanned the moon. Very little has come from this. NASA certainly would not have been able to see much back then, so they’d have to rely on the astronauts. It would be impossible for them to see much, especially without any specialized equipment. Therefore, it’s pretty certain NASA never found evidence of a civilization, ancient or otherwise, on the Moon. However, studies prove the Moon is an ancient world and it is possible life did once live here.

Strangest Theories From The Space Race Era
[Image via Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer]

Apollo 13 Was Sabotaged To Prevent Astronauts From Seeing A Secret Alien Moon Base

Just like the idea that the Soviets hid their cosmonaut victory over the United States, this belief is nonsensical. Yet that is obviously why it is on our strangest theories from the space race era list. For those unaware, Apollo 13 was the seventh crewed mission in the Apollo program and was meant to land on the moon. However, two days into the mission, the lunar landing was aborted when an oxygen tank in the service module failed. The crew looped around the moon and returned to Earth. Let’s pretend Apollo 13 was randomly sabotaged by the government. Why even let the rocket take off at all? NASA is part of the government, so it could be shut down at any time. Also, since this crew still managed to get close to the moon and looped around it, they could see any alien base there.

Strangest Theories From The Space Race Era
[Image via Paramount Global]

Aliens Helped The United States Win The Space Race

To be fair, we’ve clearly seen stranger theories on this list. Yet we needed to include this because it has been one of the most common conspiracy theories related to the Space Race. Did aliens help the United States win the Space Race? The quick answer is clearly no. The U.S. worked hard to make going to the Moon a reality, getting there before the Russians on their own. If aliens were part of NASA, for instance, one would assume that the technology would have been much better. Today, we have more useful technology in the iPhone than the entire Space Shuttle that went to the Moon. To look past man’s accomplishments here is crazy and, honestly, a slap in the face to the human species.

Strangest Theories From The Space Race Era
[Image via Walter Covin]

Apollo 11 Moon Landing Was A Ritual Sacrifice

The infamous Apollo 11 mission that put people on the Moon for the first time was revolutionary. Yet in one of the strangest theories from the space race era, some believe this mission was about more than beating the Russians. Instead, it was about committing a ritual sacrifice to the ancient Egyptian God, Thoth. Who also happened to be the God of the Moon during those times. He was also their God of sacred texts, mathematics, sciences, & magic. He was the messenger and recorder of the deities, the master of knowledge, and the patron of scribes. You could say he was pretty important to Ancient Egyptians. However, it is highly unlikely NASA knew much about him nor would most Americans at the time.

Strangest Theories From The Space Race Era
[Image via Vaalaa/Shutterstock.com]

The Space Race Was A Cover-Up For A Secret Arms Race

While we’d love to simply say this was one of the strangest theories from the space race and be done with it, we cannot. Why? Because, well, frankly…this isn’t exactly correct nor is it completely wrong. The Soviet Union and the United States were most certainly in an arms race during this time period. In fact, once Sputnik went into space, the U.S. widely assumed the Soviets potentially had nuclear weapons. On top of that, we thought they might be dropping bombs on us. However, we knew of the arms race at the time. Meaning, there was nothing secret about it. This is one of those rumors and conspiracies that starts up decades after the fact. People completely ignore the knowledge many had at the time.

Strangest Theories From The Space Race Era
[Image via Bucyfon/Shutterstock.com]

The United States Planned To Detonate A Nuclear Bomb On The Moon

While we’ve seen many of the strangest theories from the space race era on this list, we must admit this isn’t inaccurate. Some U.S. Scientists DID have a plan to test out nuclear weapons on the moon. This was part of Project A119 and meant to technically do two things. The first was that it would answer mysteries about planetary astronomy and geology. It would be detonated on the surface and bright enough to be faintly visible to people on Earth with the naked eye. It was going to be a show of force. The idea never took place for several reasons. First, it was felt that the risks outweighed the benefits. Second, it is not exactly easy to blow something up with a nuke on the Moon. You need oxygen for this stuff to really work as it does on Earth. Without it, the explosion would be quite minimal.

Where Do We Find This Stuff? Here Are Our Sources:

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

United States Air Force

United States Navy

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Council On Foreign Relations

George Washington University

National Geographic

Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum