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Man first set foot on the moon fifty years ago, and yet there are still people today who believe it was faked. In 2003 two TU Delft alumni even wrote a play about it.
Jan van der Mast's (left) en Allard Zoutendijk's space suits were a little warm. (Photo: Hans de Lijser)

Man first set foot on the moon fifty years ago, and yet there are still people today who believe it was faked. In 2003 two TU Delft alumni even wrote a play about it.

Read the more elaborate Dutch version of this article.

The stage play And what about the flag? was a response to a documentary claiming that the moon landing was a hoax. Two Delft alumni, urban designer Jan van der Mast and physicist Allard Zoutendijk, wrote it and played the leading roles themselves.

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The story: NASA approaches two Dutch scientists, Piet and Henk, to prove that the moon landing did actually happen. They do all kinds of amusing experiments which, of course, fail. Such as creating a footprint in moon dust. According to conspiracy theorists, this print isn’t real: the jet engine of the lunar module would have blown away all the dust. “We scientists said that this footprint is real, because there is a vacuum on the moon”, says Zoutendijk.

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The alumni used a bread bin as a dome. “I was supposed to create a vacuum using a VacuVin and a hose,” says Zoutendijk. “We dusted a layer of flour on the surface underneath, and I blew on it to show that the flour wouldn’t move. Of course that didn’t work - it created a huge cloud of flour.”

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And what about the flag? Surely that couldn't have fluttered in the absence of an atmosphere? Piet used two flags for that part, one of which he had dipped in starch. Van der Mast, as Piet: “Oh no, it’s moving. I don’t get it. It worked at home. Maybe one of the kids messed with it.” 

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Afterwards, the audience’s doubts still lingered – which was the point. Van der Mast and Zoutendijk won a prize for the most innovative play at the festival. 

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