Imagine, after the first successful touchdown on the moon, that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin returned to Earth with tales of moon giants.
“One day we suddenly saw a naked man of giant stature on the shore of the port, dancing, singing, and throwing dust on his head. […] When the giant was in the captain-general’s and our presence he marveled greatly, and made signs with one finger raised upward, believing that we had come from the sky. He was so tall that we reached only to his waist, and he was well proportioned…” – wikipedia
In 1520, the Magellan expedition, having reached South America, may as well have been on the moon – and who would doubt the first people to manage to make it from the Pacific to the Atlantic?
What if the follow-up Apollo missions also made the same claims?
More from the article:
In 1579, Sir Francis Drake’s ship chaplain, Francis Fletcher, wrote about meeting very tall Patagonians.
In the 1590s, Anthonie Knivet claimed he had seen dead bodies 12 feet (3.7 m) long in Patagonia.
Also in the 1590s, William Adams, an Englishman aboard a dutch ship rounding Tiera del Fuego reported a violent encounter between his ship’s crew and unnaturally tall natives.
That would seem to seal the deal – I mean, basketball coaches should be swarming the place like Farmville spam on a Facebook page, right?
The people encountered […] were in all likelihood the Tehuelches, indigenous to the region. Later writers consider the Patagonian giants to have been a hoax, or at least an exaggeration and mis-telling of earlier European accounts of the region. – wikipedia
How much of an exaggeration?
The men’s height ranges from five foot ten to six foot four. The women’s height is on average five foot six but can be close to six foot in some cases. – mnsu.edu‘s Tehuelche page
Say what you will about the robotic exploration of distant planets, but the Mars Pathfinder would never have claimed to have encountered twelve foot tall Martians.
(Unless it did.)