Two Nasa astronauts, whose photographs of Earth from space helped to start the environmental movement, believe the images have been “exploited” by campaigners against global warming.
Earthrise, the famous 1968 picture of Earth rising over the lunar surface, contributed to the formation of Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace.
Further images taken by Apollo teams who orbited or visited the moon, such as the “blue marble” pictures, boosted the cause of environmentalists.
However, Charlie Duke, a member of the Apollo 16 mission in 1972 who took one of the blue marble images, told last week’s Starmus science festival in Tenerife: “Climate science is bogus. The world has got no warmer for more than 15 years. It is a great irony that the images taken on the Apollo missions have been used in this way. We helped to start it [the environment movement] but I do not agree with it.”
Duke, who became a Christian after returning from space, added: “God gave us a world which is for our benefit. We need to care for it, but it is a lot more resilient than the environmentalists think.”
Walter Cunningham, who flew on Apollo 7, said: “Climate science is one of the greatest scientific fiascos of all time.”