NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft completed its historic Pluto flyby on July 14, 2015. And, as soon as the first photos of the dwarf planet were released to the public, the conspiracy theories started flying.
New Horizons launched in 2006 and traveled nearly three billion miles to Pluto. The spacecraft suffered a computer glitch on Saturday, July 4 temporarily interrupting communication between the craft and mission control. But the New Horizons team worked around the issue, and, fortunately, the probe managed to arrive on time for its Pluto flyby.
“Once again we have achieved a historic first,” explains NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. He continues, “The United States is the first nation to reach Pluto, and with this mission has completed the initial survey of our solar system, a remarkable accomplishment that no other nation can match.”
The Pluto photos that have been released by NASA are awesome! But they’ve also spawned some conspiracy theories too.
YouTube user UFO Union TV uploaded a video on July 14 highlighting what the user believes are “alien structures” on the surface of Pluto.
Others, like YouTube user Crrow777, believe NASA is up to its old tricks of hoaxing photos.
Newsweek asked Crrow777 what NASA would gain by hoaxing the Pluto flyby and the resulting photos. His response? Governments lie.
“Maybe the truth is that NASA cannot do as much as we have been led to believe,” he suggests. He continues, “It is a hard thing to know. Why does any government lie to its people? While there seems to be no simple answer here, it does seem to be the way of things. Governments lie and always have.”
The hoax theory has the support of people who believe Pluto doesn’t even exist.
That’s right. The idea of Pluto was fabricated by the Illuminati just to fuck with us. Didn’t you learn that in school?
Sadly, none of these conspiratorial reactions to the new Pluto photos are surprising. Conspiracy theorists love scrutinizing NASA photos and videos, and they can always find proof of aliens in every photo and video—the same photos and videos that NASA allegedly hoaxes.
It wouldn’t be too shocking if alien life is eventually discovered on Pluto. But zooming in on a photo taken 7,800 miles above the surface and scrutinizing pixilated features is not the way it will happen.
As New Horizons pushes on with its exploration of bodies in the Kuiper Belt, Pluto data will continue making its way back to Earth.