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August 10, 2006

Original Moon Walk Tapes Missing

And not the Michael Jackson ones either, unfortunately.  Word from the press is that NASA has lost the original magnetic tapes containing the video of the first moon landing.  It gets a little worse, as reports show that missing tapes include the first five moon landings.  The first moon landing took place on July 29, 1969 and was broadcast over conventional television by placing TV cameras in front of monitors at tracking stations.  The original tapes were high quality and the transmission standard was not compatible with television standards at the time.  Hence the blurry pictures that are iconic in museums, planetariums, and MTV promo spots.  NASA is in a hunt to track the original tapes down so as to create a high quality archival copy of the event.

It gets a little worse even beyond this.  There's only one machine that can play the tapes, if they still exist, and if they are in a condition to be played.  It's located at the Goddard Space Center which is scheduled to close in October.  One would think that given the importance of the tapes that it would be wise to preserve the machine.  Human nature being what it is suggests that without this piece of equipment there may be no point in recovering the tapes.  Take this to heart, NASA, if you're listening.

I can suggest one alternative to NASA on behalf of all the conspiracy theorists out there.  Recreate them.  Some people actually believe that the whole moon landing was faked anyway.  Go with that one if you can't find the originals.  We have better technology now, and much better special effects.  Go into a studio, get George Lucas, or for the fun of it, maybe David Lynch, and just film the whole thing over.  And while you're at it, see if you can do something about those missing Doctor Who episodes from the 1960s as well.

Stories are in the Sydney Morning Herald, and the Hampton Union.

August 10, 2006 | Permalink


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