It's science fiction, of course: History has it that Apollo 18, along with 19 and 20, was canceled — Apollo 17 was NASA's final lunar mission. But the new film will surely stoke conspiratorial fires about the agency's secret activities. Might NASA really have launched a secret human spaceflight during the Apollo era, without anyone noticing it?
The "Apollo 18" trailer includes a snippet in which the astronauts are communicating with the Department of Defense (DoD), suggesting that it is involved in the secret mission. (The astronauts, however, are decked out in NASA gear and communicate with personnel in Houston, the location of NASA's mission control center.) Filmmakers might be playing off of the fact that the DoD's space program is much more secretive than NASA's, making the premise slightly more conceivable (though more confusing, too).
"The space budget at the Pentagon is much bigger than NASA's budget," Nelson said. "They launch missions all the time and they don't reveal hardly any of it. They have their own launch pad next to NASA's in Florida, and another launch pad in California."
Could NASA Launch a Secret Moon Mission?