Lunar Ranging Retro Reflectors

Located at the precise locations of the Apollo 11, 14, and 15 landing sites are three “lunar ranging retro reflectors” (LRRR). Two additional reflectors were placed on the Moon by the Soviet Lunokhod 1 and Lunokhod 2 rovers.

These reflectors allow scientists on Earth to very accurately measure the distance between the Earth and Moon using lasers.┬áBecause the Moon’s surface alone does not reliably reflect laser beams we can be certain that the reflectors are actually there.

Could the Apollo LRRRs have been placed on the Moon by robotic landers, like the Soviet rovers? In theory, yes, but it would have been nearly impossible to keep it a secret. It would have required many people to be involved in the development of the unmanned landers, which would have increased the risk of someone exposing the hoax. The more people involved in a lie the more likely it is to fail.

It’s unlikely the United States could have launched a spacecraft to the Moon without someone else noticing, so it’s doubtful that one (never mind three) of these secret probes would have gone undetected. Remember that this was during a time when the United States and the Soviet Union were on the brink of nuclear war. They monitored each other’s rocket launches very closely.