It's not hard to track down a conspiracy theorist.
One just simply needs to shout "aliens don't exist" in a crowded area and someone wearing a tinfoil hat will rush to refute your allegations.
On the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the internet is once again awash with claims questioning the validity of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and NASA altogether.
Was the moon landing faked, and if so, what's really going on up there?
Cue the X Files theme music.
Recently, one of the more convoluted theories re-emerged: man did land on the moon but it wasn't a historic venture; it was a search and destroy mission.
According to conspiracy theorists, the craters evident in photos taken by spacecrafts Apollo 7 and 8 are evidence of NASA's 'bombing campaigns' to eradicate an advancing alien race. Conveniently, these aliens inhabit the dark side of the moon, a lunar area not visible from Earth.
Conspiracists were delighted when Air Force Tactical Air Command technician Karl Wolfe provided plausibity to lunacy.
Wolfe claimed he observed artificial structures on the dark side of the moon in images taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2009.
"There were structures that were definitely not created by natural means, such as meteors, or ancient collisions with other heavenly bodies," said Wolfe. "The structures were created by intelligent beings. Most noticeable was what looked exactly like radar antennas."
Now the NASA versus an alien race theory has gained momentum, with conspiracists accusing the US government of conducting regular attacks on the moon in an ongoing galactic war. More close to home, it's widely believed aliens have already been captured and detained in the infamous Area 51.
Just this week a Facebook event attracted international attention as over one million people prepare to storm Area 51 to free the presumed alien captives. Naturally, the US Air Force has strongly discouraged fanatics from raiding the military base — which only seemed to stoke the crazy.
And there's definitely no shortage of crazy surrounding NASA and Apollo 11. In fact,
Reddit may just be ground zero for moon landing sceptics.
Many Reddit users allege Neil Armstrong never actually went into space at all, using "evidence" to prove NASA's mission was one big lie.
The r/conspiracy thread of the popular forum swells with theories, each more bizarre than the last. One thread claims former presidents created the moon landing videos as a form of propaganda during the Cold War conflict against the Soviet Union. Another proclaims that the Earth is "flat" and it would have been impossible to conduct a lunar mission altogether.
Even Whoopi Goldberg hinted that she didn't believe the moon landing videos were legitimate.
There are several popular reasons conspiracists cite as "proof" the moon landing was staged. Unsurprisingly, every one of them has been debunked.
CLAIM: "You can't see the stars in the moon landing photos!"
DEBUNKED: An image of Buzz Aldrin sparked this theory but the principles of photography bust this myth. The moon (and astronauts in their pearly white spacesuits) are brightly lit by the sun. To take photos in circumstances with bright exposure, the camera shutter has to open and close rapidly to prevent too much light infiltrating the lens and making the image too bright. As a result, the aperture has to be small, which blurs objects not in immediate focus — essentially iPhone "portrait mode" but the galactic version. Blurry background = no visible stars.
CLAIM: "Why is the flag fluttering if there's no air in space?"
DEBUNKED: While scientists agree that there was no wind on the moon that would have caused the flag to wave, experts say the footage which shows the flag "flapping" was shot in the moments immediately after the flag was planted. The "wind" was actually caused by the movement of inserting the flagpole into the hardened lunar soil.
Additionally, National Space Centre Discovery Director Profesor Anu Ojha points out that the flag contains a pole along the top to display it better.
"Because it's been set up like this, it appears to be waving in the wind," Ojha said. "All the wrinkles are there because it's literally been screwed up for four days en route to the Moon."
CLAIM: "You can't even see the cameras they used to take the photos!"
DEBUNKED: This is one of the most used excuses to prove the moon landing was fake. It's also the most simple to explain: the cameras were firmly secured to the spacesuits meaning neither Armstrong nor Aldrin needed to raise a camera for a quick lunar selfie.
CLAIM: "Radiation would have killed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin!"
DEBUNKED: Surrounding Earth is a ring of charged particles otherwise known as the "Van Allen" radiation belt. Entering this zone is potentially lethal due to high radiation levels. Think Chernobyl but in space.
If Apollo 11 spent long periods of time in this zone, then you'd be correct in assuming the astronauts would not have survived. But the spacecraft didn't linger. The transit through the Van Allen radiation belt was short and at enough speed that there was no huge threat of harm from radiation exposure.
CLAIM: "If we actually went to the moon, we would've been back by now!"
DEBUNKED: There's actually a very simple reason man hasn't returned to the moon: it's bloody expensive. In the years since the six successful manned Apollo missions, funding to NASA has decreased, while the cost of a space odyssey has surged. It's estimated NASA would need to invest $US133 billion to land man on the moon again.
Astronauts also blame political turbulence for shifting priorities away from another moon landing, which in turn decreases budgeting allocated for space ventures.
HOW DID THE MOON LANDING CONSPIRACY THEORY START?
Since man touched down on the moon in 1969, scepticism has plagued the historic moment.
And Bill Kaysing is the man to blame.
Kaysing worked as a technical writer for the company that designed the Saturn V rocket engines which helped transport Apollo 11 into space. Yet, despite his time and effort supporting the US space program, he later espoused his belief that all six Apollo missions were faked.
In his self-published book We Never Went to the Moon: America's Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle, Kaysing claims he had a "hunch, an intuition, … a true conviction" that man never touched down on the lunar landscape.
He believed, at the time of the moon landings, technology didn't exist to safely return man back to Earth without enduring harmful atmospheric radiation.
Kaysing, along with many other conspiracy theorists, cited photographs of the moon and its craters (or rather lack thereof) as "proof".
Despite the overwhelming evidence supporting the moon landing, Kaysing's original theory caught fire and, just as many urban legends do, grew to become a widely accepted "truth".
In a recent study, it was revealed that up to 57 per cent of Russians believe the moon landings were an elaborate hoax by the US government. Italians aren't much better, with one in five denying the Apollo 11 mission was real. Even on NASA's home soil, between 5 and 10 per cent of Americans are moon landing conspiracy theorists.
And there's a major reason why.
In a study published last year, Associate Professor of Psychology at Union College Joshua Hart revealed certain personality types are predisposed to accept conspiracy theories.
"These people tend to be more suspicious, untrusting, eccentric, needing to feel special, with a tendency to regard the world as an inherently dangerous place," Hart said. "They are also more likely to detect meaningful patterns where they might not exist. People who are reluctant to believe in conspiracy theories tend to have the opposite qualities."
Hart went on to elaborate that people look for meaning that corroborates their ideological perspectives. In the case for the moon landings, those who already distrust the government are more likely to subscribe to the belief that world leaders are hiding information from the public, such as a looming alien war.
"The strongest predictor of conspiracy belief was a constellation of personality characteristics collectively referred to as 'schizotypy'," Hart said.
Those with "schizotypy" tend to infer meaning and motives from circumstances where others do not, transforming nonsensical statements into profound reasoning, despite little validity.
Social psychologist and University of Cambridge Associate Professor Sander van der Linden says there is a growing danger in the wide acceptance of conspiracy theories. In a report exploring the "conspiracy-effect", Prof van der Linden calls conspiracy theories "potent", particularly for social behaviour and acceptance of scientific information.
"Exposure to popular conspiracy theories can have negative and undesirable societal consequences," he said in his report.
"While once conceived of as the 'implausible visions of a lunatic fringe', national surveys have revealed that over 50 per cent of the American public now believes in at least one conspiracy."
Prof van der Linden claims exposure to conspiracy theories can "significantly" decrease decision making abilities, lower trust in science and alter engagement with society.