Get PolitiFact in your inbox.

Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke November 8, 2023

No, NASA didn’t admit space and planets are fake

If Your Time is short

  • NASA didn’t say space and planets are fake.


A recent Instagram post leans on a 2018 local news broadcast to make a sweeping and unfounded claim: that the country’s space agency has announced space isn’t real. 

"NASA admits space & planets are fake," reads the text above a clip of a 2018 broadcast from KHOU-TV, a CBS affiliate in Houston. 

"They are images that inspire, educate and sometimes just make us say ‘wow,’" a news anchor says in the video. "Over the years, NASA has given us spectacular photos and renderings that reveal a colorful and mysterious universe."

"No doubt," her co-anchor says. "And now, Chris Martinez is introducing us to two of the artists behind some of the most iconic space art in the galaxy."

The chyron at the bottom of the screen says: "NASA artists paint picture of other worlds." 

The video then cuts to a news report, and Martinez can be heard saying, "In a small bright office, working side by side, Robert Hurt and Tim Pyle bring the universe to life."

Featured Fact-check

"What we’re doing does have real science underlying it," one of the artists says. 

Martinez: "Robert is an astrophysicist-turned-artist. Tim, once a Hollywood animator, is now a planet illustrator. Together, they produce some of NASA’s most popular images from renderings of how planets light years away could look, to actual photos of stars and galaxies captured by NASA’s powerful telescopes. Many of those images have a dark, grainy start." 

This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

This news broadcast is not tantamount to NASA admitting that space and planets are fake. Rather, the artists use data to create artistic renderings of the corners of space for which NASA has no images, and bring color to the black-and-white photos it does possess.

"Without Hurt and Pyle," CNN reported in 2016, "the images we associate with exoplanets would be a single pixel of light surrounded by the vast blackness of space." 

NASA hasn’t admitted that space and planets are fake. We’ve previously fact-checked and found false claims that space is "a hoax." This claim gets the same rating: Pants on Fire!

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Ciara O'Rourke

No, NASA didn’t admit space and planets are fake

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up