On 8 April 2018, an English tabloid attempted to pass off a long-debunked conspiracy theory about astronaut Buzz Aldrin and three of his peers as an "exclusive" by involving a questionable research group.
According to the London-based Daily Star, Aldrin — as well as Gordon Cooper, Edgar Mitchell, and Al Worden — "took part" in a study by the Institute of BioAcoustic Biology in the United States. The fact that Cooper and Mitchell are both dead is not mentioned until the story's penultimate paragraph.
Despite stating in its headline that Aldrin (who piloted the Apollo 11 mission in 1969) passed a "lie detector test," the Star reported that the four astronauts' "participation" consisted of an alleged analysis of recordings of the two men's voices. But there is no mention of which recordings were covered by the "complex computer analyses" of their voice patterns; instead, the Star reported that "these studies are claimed to be more reliable than current lie detector tests and could soon replace those used by the FBI and police," without stating exactly who is making said claim:
Aldrin has always maintained he spotted a UFO on the way to the moon, saying: "There was something out there that was close enough to be observed, sort of L-shaped."
The tabloid also reported that Sharry Edwards, who heads the Ohio-based institute, said that even though Aldwin "cannot explain it," he is somehow sure that he saw a non-terrestrial spacecraft. But the tabloid did not mention that Aldrin himself said during a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" chat session on 8 July 2014 that what he saw was likely not anything extraterrestrial:
There were many explanations of what that could be, other than another spacecraft from another country or another world - it was either the rocket we had separated from, or the 4 panels that moved away when we extracted the lander from the rocket and we were nose to nose with the two spacecraft. So in the close vicinity, moving away, were 4 panels. And i feel absolutely convinced that we were looking at the sun reflected off of one of these panels. Which one? I don't know. So technically, the definition could be "unidentified."
We reached out to Aldrin seeking comment but did not hear back prior to publication; a spokesperson for him told the Australian web site Pedestrian, "This is bogus and we don't know where it came from."
Aldrin's spokesperson also emailed us to rebut the allegation, saying:
Buzz did not take a lie detector test. He has never said he saw a UFO. This story has been a fabrication for the sake of headlines and is not true as far as Buzz Aldrin is concerned. We think they've twisted one of his interviews to mean something it does not. Buzz has always been very clear that he never saw any UFO's or anything to indicate we've been contacted by alien life. So this is someone just trying to capitalize on using his name to get press.
Bioacoustics — the institute's alleged field of expertise — is a legitimate realm of scientific study, dating back to the work of biologist Ivan Regen in 1925. But as ScienceAlert.com once said of Edwards' group, "the institute's line of study bears the hallmarks of pseudoscience."