First man on the moon? Was it Buzz Lightyear?

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The Independent Online

As much of the world prepares to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the first time man walked on the moon on Monday 20 July – a large and increasing part of the British public believes we are celebrating a hoax.

According to a survey by engineering magazine E&T has revealed the results of a special survey of more than 1000 members of the public, commissioned to test the ongoing popularity of the Apollo programme.

The results of the survey make worrying reading for proponents of a return to the moon with 25 per cent of the public does not believe Neil Armstrong or Buzz Aldrin actually made it there while 44 per cent consider the Apollo programme a waste of money, 11 per cent thought it was as recent as the 1980s. Perhaps most worryingly, 1 per cent of the study was sure that the first astronaut to stand on the moon was 'Buzz Lightyear'.

In an interview with the magazine, Aldrin vehemently disagreed that the Apollo missions were a waste of money: ‘All sorts of people from engineers to airline pilots who report back on what it was that got them into aerospace and science, developing engineering and math, say it was the Apollo programme that inspired them’.

Buzz also disagreed with the 60 per cent of respondents who believed that man will return to the moon within the next 10 years, arguing that the next major step for man will be to visit Mars which he predicts could happen by 2031.

E&T Editor-in-Chief Dickon Ross said: ’The Apollo moon landing is mankind’s most outstanding engineering event so it’s deeply worrying that such a large number of people should think the first moon walk never happened and that the public’s belief in the legitimacy of science and technology seems to be declining over time’

Aldtrin’s interview with E&T magazine is here -