My journey started when I saw a comment on a video that SpaceX had shared on Instagram: "It looks like the launch footage is reversed."
The comment piqued my curiosity—was this person suggesting that SpaceX didn't land a rocket on the drone boat? That it merely … uhh, launched a second rocket from a boat in the middle of the ocean (raising the question of what happened to that second rocket)? I wondered if there might possibly be SpaceX truthers. And so, I started searching YouTube with various permutations of "SpaceX Fake" and "SpaceX Hoax."
What I found is a community of little-watched truthers with an astounding number of theories about what, specifically, SpaceX faked when it landed a rocket on land late last year and when it landed a rocket on a barge again last week. I guess I shouldn't be surprised—there's a rich history of moon landing hoaxers, and, naturally, there's a lot of overlap here. Here, then, is your complete guide to YouTube's most persistent SpaceX skeptics.
Video Title: SpaceX Falcon9 HOAX Flat Earth DEBUNKs Elon Musk "rocket landing hellicopter footage" (Fair Use)
The theory: SpaceX video is too pixelated to be real.
TheLostBegotten frequently veers into rants about Donald Trump and rarely speaks in full sentences, but the crux of his argument is, essentially: It's 2016, why doesn't SpaceX use HD cameras? The counter argument to this is that the FAA puts a several-mile no-fly zone around rocket launches, and SpaceX's helicopter naturally has to stay very far away from the landing site to keep from being knocked out of the sky. The footage is taken from far, far away.
Choice quotes: "When things like this get rendered, when you see them on a video game, they've got the little tiny square. Those squares aren't real. They're fictional images."
"Look at the pixelation. It's a difference between the ability of display rendering and graphic rendering. If you're a billion dollar company in the day and age where hoaxes prevail and video can be faked, where things need to be as clear as to be considered proven, how is that excusable?"
"NASA is a government institution, that's the appropriate place to try to deceive our enemies and keep the population hopeful to get money for actual secret projects. For private companies to be tagging along— it's a sign of the time we live in."
Factual inaccuracies: "You are required by law to prove to your shareholders that you're not a con artist." - SpaceX is not a publicly traded company.
Choice YouTube comment:
When this supposed rocket landed it left no charring on the ground, this space x company is marketing bullshit, fake it all, shit they could have drooped this pos rocket from above from a tether, no one can verify because on lookers are too far away to get decent footage
OTHER TRUTHER TOPICS: He is also an aquarium enthusiast, a Final Fantasy X fan, and into the Flat Earth theory.
Video Title: "SpaceX - What They're Feeding - What the Sheep Are Eating"
The theory: SpaceX launch was footage that was reversed.
This is primarily just a video of other people's news coverage and comments from around the internet. The video description calls it the "Best fake since the planes of 911." Another one of his videos is called "SpaceX Testing Your Stupidity" and shows the video in reverse as "what really happened."
OTHER TRUTHER TOPICS: He's posted an entire reading of the 9/11 commission report called "Fairytale Audiobook."
Video Title: FAKE SpaceX reverse falcon 9 landing hoax propaganda cold war 2
The Theory: Rockets can be launched from Earth, but fall back down once they get to space.
NatureHacker is the most complete SpaceX truther out there in that he has many many theories about what is going on here. He suggests that rockets "don't work in space," says that all SpaceX videos are faked, suggests the footage is reversed, and has theories for why SpaceX is faking the landing with the help of NASA.
Choice Quotes: "This is just a total hoax. It's so easy to see. I wasn't expecting a hoax because I knew that rockets don't work in space, so maybe they got something up into space for a few seconds and then it falls back down. They're returning the rocket—this looks like they hit the rewind button - it just came back down. Umm, I'm not so sure that would work. Definitely wouldn't work, and that's just rewound. They just took footage from a few angles, rewound it, and voila, you've got your landing. Super easy status."
"Come on guys. There is plenty of alien footage, bigfoot footage out there—not saying that's all fake, but there's a lot of fake footage out there."
"Rockets are very unstable. that's why so many rockets just kind of go off in random directions sometimes and they tip over and go up in flames."
"The motive would be they wanted there to be the illusion of progress. We haven't had any progress since 1969. It was all a hoax from the beginning, but in the public's eye we haven't had any progress since 1969 and rocketships and fantasies like that, so they just want the illusion of progress. Elon Musk is in with the government and they're like hey, we can help you, you can help us. let's do something that gives the illusion of progress. Space is—it's the hoax tripwire. you try to get into space for too long you're going to end up making hoaxes."
BONUS NatureHacker SpaceX Truther Theory: The drone boat doesn't look real / where is the horizon?
"This looks fake. It doesn't look like real life. This doesn't quite look like real life. That barge is supposed to be the size of a football field but it looks flat. There is no horizon. Where is it? The waves at the top do not look any further away than they do at the bottom, it's just a backdrop."
"This is just a cheap, fake, CGI scene. SpaceX is no stranger to faking everything—literally they fake every single one of their landings. Everything from parachute flares to fake grasshoppers."
Other Truther Theories: The GOP is canceling the election. Newton's fourth law of motion is fake. Chemtrails contain pesticides. Isaac Newton Debunked.
YouTuber: SHANE HUSTAD
Video Title: "SpaceX "Motto" If you can't make it
The theory: SpaceX faked this video but didn't fake the failed ones. This was video of a rocket launch, reversed.
Shane doesn't speak much, preferring to use classic conspiracy theory "proof" such as frame-by-frame video and arrows added in what looks like Microsoft Paint. His main theory is that the Falcon 9 uses stability boosters at the top of the rocket to stabilize itself laterally in the failed videos, but does visibly use the booster during the successful landing.
Choice quotes: "More like FakeX Hoaxes a sea landing."
"The attitude of the rocket would indicate that stability boosters should be firing, so where are they?"
Other Truther Theories: Chemtrails, Shapeshifters and reptilians are real, Trump is a puppet, moon landing was fake, "space junk is a fraud."
Video Title: "Space X "CRS-8 Rocket Landing On A Droneship" Fakery Makes NASA Look Legit!"
The Theory: SpaceX employees are paid actors, everything about the company is a fake.
This guy goes in deep. He suggests that the people cheering in the background SpaceX employees "sounds like a bunch of girls at a Backstreet Boys concert," and suggests there is no way the landing is real.
Choice quotes: "What NASA does looks 100 percent legit compared to these clowns. This is an absolute and complete joke."
"[SpaceX employees, who are actors] must be promised something—money, free pizza. Must be family members all gathered here. It's just complete dumb junk to believe this is legit."
Factual Inaccuracy: "Take a look at this rocket, supposedly reusable. What are the mechanisms to keep the rocket coming down straight on the platform? Completely ridiculous. The masses are going to buy it. Anything produced by Jeff Bezos and SpaceX must be legit." - Jeff Bezos is the CEO of Blue Origin, not SpaceX.
Other Truther Theories: Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are part of the freemasons, 9/11 was a hoax, Earth is flat, the Chicago skyline is a mirage, also he posts a bunch of videos of cute turtles that are free of commentary.
THAT IS THE DUMBEST SHIT I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE IT LOOKS LIKE THEY JUST PLAYED SOME STOP MOTION CLAYMATION GARBAGE IN REVERSE THEY DIDNT EVEN TRY. THEN THEY GOT ALL THEIR IMPS TO PLAY PRETEND CHEER LIKE A BUNCH OF IDIOT HYENAS GETTING OFF ON FAKERY - COMPLETE GARBAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YouTuber: The Flat Earth Movement
Video Title: "SpaceX Rocket Launch HOAX - FLAT HORIZON Accidentally Shown Whilst They Edit to Add a Curve"
The theory: SpaceX does not have real rockets but has a lot of video editors who edit video in real time to fake "live" launches. Meanwhile, these editors forgot to edit out a flat horizon in the "live" video, therefore proving Earth is flat.
This is my favorite truther video of the lot, because the man in this one somehow manages to make the argument that, while SpaceX's rockets are entirely fake (filmed using bunsen burners in a laboratory, a commenter suggests) and do not go to space, the company also has filmed proof that the Earth is flat from the rocket and accidentally published a "flat horizon" before it could be edited to add a curve to the Earth. Simply stunning. It's a must watch to see how giddy he gets as he discovers SpaceX has inadvertently published proof that the world is flat.
Choice Quotes: "While the LIVE footage shows a flat horizon, then it cuts to an editing studio, and then back to footage, which then looks curved; obviously proving that curve is fake."
"We get to see them on their laptops creating fake videos for you."
The truth is out there … I guess.