In Interstellar, Murph's teachers explain to Cooper that the moon-landing was fabricated; a successful piece of propaganda that bankrupted the soviets.

Is it ever mentioned if this statement was true or not for the universe of Interstellar? According to this movie and all the people in it, was the moon-landing a hoax? Does the movie make mention of it? Do the creators make mention of it out of universe?

NASA being functional in 2070 is not necessarily proof that it was functional enough to land on the moon in the 1960s, or that they did it even if they were functional enough.

I'm trying to make it obvious that I'm strictly talking about the movie and not real life, since, of course, the movie is fiction.


2 Answers 2


The moon landings were real.

In-universe, the argument between Coop and the teacher arises because his daughter brings in a textbook which evidently contains high quality images of the moon-landings. This conflicts with the new teaching that the moon landings were a hoax, a claim that is (ironically) itself a hoax, designed to ensure that Americans aren't disappointed by the government's plans to lower people's educational expectations (e.g. we need more farmers and fewer engineers).

There's a little more info about Coop's thought process in the film's official novelisation:

“She brought this to school,” she said. “To show the other kids the section on lunar landings…”

“Yeah,” he said, recognizing it. “It’s one of my old textbooks. She likes the pictures.”

“This is an old federal textbook,” Miss Hanley said. “We’ve replaced them with corrected versions.”


“You don’t believe we went to the moon?” Sure, he was aware that there had always been a fringe element—crazies who held to that cock-eyed nonsense. But a teacher? How could anyone with half a mind peddle that baloney?


Am I that out of touch? he wondered. Has it really gotten that bad?

He guessed he was, and that it had. He didn’t pay much attention to what little news there was, because he had long ago realized it was really mostly propaganda. But he hadn’t realized they had gone so far as to rewrite the freaking textbooks.

“Okay,” Okafor said, leaning forward. “Well, right now the world doesn’t need more engineers. We didn’t run out of planes, or television sets. We ran out of food.

Cooper sat back in the chair, feeling the steam leak out of him.

“The world needs farmers,” Okafor continued, with a smile that was probably meant to be benign but just felt patronizing. “Good farmers, like you. And Tom. We’re a caretaker generation. And things are getting better. Maybe your grandchildren—”

Out-of-universe, director Christopher Nolan addressed this point in an interview with Slashfilm:

But we don’t think of it in those terms. We think of ourselves as being the most magnificent, amazing universe ever and if we wanna go back to the Moon, sure, we could. It’s like no, those guys are all dead or retired. We’re not going back to the Moon. And if we wanted to, we’d have to spend billions of dollars and it would take years and years and years. We’re just done. We’re not doing that. We’re out of that business. And so people don’t think in those terms. We had to set the movie in the future in which that was abundantly clear.

and writer Jonathan Nolan also spoke to this issue in an interview with comingsoon.net where he makes it abundantly clear that Interstellar is set in a future where we went to the moon and then stopped:

If you look at the last 2,000 years and human civilization, things come and go. Just because we went to the moon doesn’t mean we’re going back to the moon. So the film had to be set in that kind of agrarian future to hammer that home.


It is surely mentioned that Cooper does believe in the moon-landing being true, since he has a fight with his daughter's teachers over it.

Further, in-movie NASA was well capable of operating, since it was shut down after refusing to adopt "extreme measures" requested by the government, and had to keep operating under cover.

So I don't think that the movie leaves room for thinking that moon landing was not real. Instead, they had chosen to conveniently "forget" about it.

  • 15
    Indeed. The assertion that the moon landing was faked is essentially the government trying to discourage people from yearning for space by saying it's impossible and any proof that it was possible was faked. They did this, of course, to get people to focus on the problems on Earth instead such as farming.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Sep 25, 2015 at 16:37
  • @SeanDuggan that is why NASA had to go underground. The general public would not support it. Sep 26, 2015 at 13:01
  • 3
    @FuzzyBoots You should have written your own answer. That is the most spot-on observation in this entire thread.
    – arkon
    Apr 15, 2016 at 0:14
  • @b1nary.atr0phy: Eh, Richard has it pretty well covered above.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Apr 15, 2016 at 3:37

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