Hoaxes & Rumors

Debunked: NASA Photo of a Pyramid on the Moon

Debunked: NASA Photo of a Pyramid on the Moon

A grainy image allegedly shows a pyramid on the moon, snapped by one of the Apollo 17 astronauts in 1972. Is this real or fake?

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The photo is real, but there a simple explanation, which does not involve pyramids on the moon.


Apollo 17 was a 12-day mission to the moon in December 1972. It had a crew of three, and was the last mission of the Apollo program. All of the images shot during Apollo 17 are online in the Apollo Image Library hosted by NASA.

“Pyramid” Photo

One image in the library has been the subject of debate, as an enhanced version appears to show a triangular object which some say resembles a pyramid on the surface of the moon. The photo is real and can be found on the NASA website, listed under Magazine 135/G. Below is the unaltered photo.

pyramid on moon unaltered

Fact Pages

Internet fact pages and conspiracy websites have used the “pyramid” photo to generate curiosity and interest, often stating that the photo had never been fully explained. “This is an interesting one, and I don’t think it’s ever been debunked,”
one “UFO” Twitter page wrote about the image – a tweet which was later deleted.

The photo circulated by fact pages is skewed to make the “pyramid” slightly wider than the original, and a shadowy vignette effect is also added which also does not exist in the original. Finally, NASA did not label this photo as “blank” as asserted by some writers. The official description is “LRV Floor? Sunstruck.” The next photo taken, which is the first photo on the next magazine, is listed as blank – but there is no image is provided for it.


If viewed out of context, if would be easy to draw the conclusion that the photo above may in fact show a pyramid on the moon. Context, however, helps us more easily identify the actual contents of this image.

The image above is numbered AS17-135-20680. It is in a sequence of photos which spans two different rolls, or magazines, of film. This sequence is numbered AS17-135-20676 through AS17-135-20680 on Magazine 135/G and continues onto the next magazine (136/H) with numbers AS17-136-20681 and AS17-136-20682. Although 81 is blank, 82 shows a similar scene as those before it: pointed downward showing the floor of the Lunar Roving Vehicle, or LRV. Take a look at this entire sequence below.

apollo 17 image 76

Image 76

apollo 17 image 77

Image 77

apollo 17 image 78

Image 78

apollo 17 image 79

Image 79

apollo 17 image 80

Image 80, the “Pyramid” photo and the last on Magazine 135/G.

(Image 81 is blank)

apollo 17 image 82

Image 82, and the first on Magazine 136/H.

End of Sequence

In perusing the NASA library, it appears that the beginning and ending images of many magazines contain images which were taken with no particular subject in mind, perhaps during the loading or unloading procedure, or for focusing (such as the beginning images of Magazine 135/G). Consider, for example, similar end-of-sequence photos of Magazine 142/M which are labeled “sunstruck” or “LRV floor” or others which are labeled as both. Some of these end-of-magazine photos are so sunstruck and ambiguous that NASA included question marks in the description such as “LRV floor?”

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As you can see in the sequence shown above, which includes the “pyramid” photo, there are many objects which could have formed the triangular image in the photo in question. Further, it appears that the camera was aimed at the LRV floor during the entire sequence, as one magazine was unloaded and the next was loaded. It does not stand to reason that image 80 would be focused on a distant object during in the middle of this unloading and loading phase, while all of the images before and after it show the LRV floor.

Readers over on Metabunk have attempted to identify the specific features in this photo.

Bottom Line

The grainy image of a “pyramid” on the moon appears to be an image shot of the Lunar Rover Vehicle’s floor as the film was being changed in the camera.

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  • Ghostlore

    Yep. So you have several witnesses who either worked at NASA or for them stating that they discovered objects on the moon, countless UFO ‘incidents’ or sightings every year, dozens of high-level government officials stating that we’ve made already made contact, a military industrial complex that the president of the United States and the head of the CIA are not code-named/tasked in on, and yet this grainy photo may or may not be the lunar floor.
    There will simply never, ever be enough evidence for a skeptic. Little green men could land on the white house lawn tomorrow and give a nationally televised interview and skeptics would *still* say it was a hoax, or just our imaginations, or swamp gas.

    • Robert Backus

      And yet nutters could be shown scientific proof and they’ll still demand there are UFOs. Why in the world would the “military industrial complex” (aka, the big scary guys all nutters wet themselves over) deny what would be the biggest reason to increase funding for weapons? Why leave out the Pres and congress who hold the funding? And the crap answer of “it would create mass hysteria if we admitted it” is complete bull. At least half (if not many more) of the people either believe in them or wouldn’t be surprised if they existed. So, no reason to lie about it especially if we announce that they are much more advanced than us and we need to arm ourselves immediately. One proof they don’t exist- Russia continues to oppose Strategic Defense Initiative. Best defense we had since the 80s, one button needed to turn the weapons space-ward. Yet, the governments in this big conspiracy to hide UFOs, struck it down. But, of course, nutters will say it’s already up there, it was built during the night so no one saw it.

      • Gentry Harms

        While Ghostlore is no doubt a nutter, the odds that the several millions of galaxies with several millions of planets exist, and the Earth is the only one capable of habitation and sentient beings is just mathematically implausible. I heard an astrophysicist say once that even if .0001% of all the planets in existence were capable of sustaining human or other sentient life, that would still equate to tens of millions of planets capable of doing just that.

        I happen to believe that there is life out there somewhere. It is highly unlikely that those life forms have discovered the technology for intergalactic travel, however, since with the creation of our deep space surveillance capabilities we would be able to pick up anomalies that would be cause by near speed/at speed/ faster than light speeds.

        I happen to believe that Mars once held life but experienced an extinction level event that knocked a large part of the planet loose into space, some of which eradicated the dinosaurs on out planet, and created what we call the moon now.

        Also, I do find it a tad odd that several different civilizations on opposite sides of our Earth all tell some of the same legends, build the same architecture, and complete these amazing feats of engineering in a time where math was a virtual unknown.

        • Simon Gardner

          Unfortunately, for life to get a footing on any one of those planets (assuming the correct atmosphere) the very first step (amino acids to protein molecule) has a probability of 10 to the power of 113 (1e+113). Which, to use your phrase is ‘mathematically implausible’ to the extreme.

          • Gentry Harms

            Not really. There are actual theories on it about “panspermia”, that the building blocks of all life is out in space at all times, seeking the planets with the proper variables to create life.

          • Nada Sheeple

            Funny how you guys think that the laws of physics are universal throughout the universe… to believe we are the only ones who exist in this reality is more idiotic then believing there is guy up in cloud controlling us like robots… Simple fact is you dont know… ATM science can’t even explain metaphysics… you never know until you do… then you are educated…

    • mandy smith

      so well said..looking at so many UFO youtube videos, and you cant win, its either “to blurry, to far away! so you then get some close up clear shots, then its ” just too good has to be CGI, a drone, a balloon, it’s faked” they just don’t want to believe, the idea is just to scary for them to comprehend….or it’ll mean, they’ll then have to finally admit their precious governments really have been lying to them all this time.

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