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back to article NASA reacquires original Moon landing footage

NASA has seemingly confirmed that the original taped recordings of the first Moon landing have turned up in Australia - almost three years after the agency admitted it had carelessly mislaid them. The Parkes Observatory in Australia captured the 1969 live images straight from the lunar surface to magnetic tape. What the US …

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Stop

Apparently a hoax!

Shame but there you go.

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Black Helicopters

Fake?

Just to weigh in with fake moon landing theories....

Just occurred to me that Apollo 11 would have had a digital signal transmitter to transmit images at a specific framerate for the peeps to watch live/post processed in 1969.

Has anybody calculated the power requirements to beam such a signal back to earth (signal diminishing over distance squared thing), factored in with how much footage was beamed back and whether Apollo 11 had enough juice and a large antenna to beam this back?

Just wondering....

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Happy

Lost, but now I'm found

It's always in the last place you look... Who'd have thought it was on the tape that was left in the video recorder that origianlly taped it? D'oh...

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Probably not so old and fragile after all

I suspect this is covering their arses. It so isn't my area of expertise and I'm sure they're using higher definition and higher tech technology than I've used, but if family cine film from thirty years ago is still playable, reel to reel audio from fifty years ago is playable and the beeb is capable of restoring broadcast programmes older than the moon landing, why isn't NASA?

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Black Helicopters

Australia...?

... not in a hanger in Nevada?

Hmm, THAT'S what El Reg missed with the new icons, there's no Tin Foil Hat icon...! Guess it'll have to be a Black Helicopter.

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FAIL

Can't be played?

Rubbish, the BBC and other broadcasters routinely play video tapes back dating from the 1960's with only minor issues. Providing the tape was properly stored, with expert hands they can usually be transferred. Might require the tape to be "baked" first though (this involves gently heating the tape for an extended period and then doing a transfer straight away).

Chances are it's on 2" Quad tape so finding a machine isn't much of an issue (there's still lots out there despite the format dating from 1959!) so it's just a question of if they can play it or what is required to make it play.

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Badgers

storage facility

...maybe it depends on the storage facility?

I we talking some outback wooden shed or dunny?

or

a century old Lutyens designed stoned edfice keeping your tapes nice and safe?

or, maybe the tapes are "unreadable" as the clear hi-def version shows aliens in the back ground or worse..... the Nazi cult of Vril rocket ships?

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Alien

Outtakes & blooper reel.

This would be the one with the other 3 takes of Neil Armstrong coming down the steps and fluffing his lines? Or maybe the take in which, amusingly, a studio light fell over into shot just as the flag was being planted? Or maybe the one in which some tech cad had placed a large Clanger doll in the background?

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FAIL

What luck!

The original tapes, but in higher quality! Just in time for the anniversary and in time for the announcement of more missions to the moon.

http://www.myfoxhouston.com/dpp/news/scitech/NASA_Heads_Back_to_the_Moon_for_First_Time_in_Decade_77546383

I wonder if that'll get people behind it again?

What good fortune! What amazing timing! Brilliant. Sign me up. I believe it all. :)

Peace.

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Alien

The Dish

Yes, Australia.

Parkes to be more precise.

http://www.parkes.atnf.csiro.au/news_events/apollo11/

Ahh, was it really 40 years ago?

I remember it so well.

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Anonymous Coward

Fake? rofl

Digital TV transmission in 1969?

If they could have done that then it would be bigger news than landing on the moon!

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Anonymous Coward

@Fake?

Digital television in 1969? HA!

It was good old FM analogue.

http://www.parkes.atnf.csiro.au/news_events/apollo11/sband_comms.html

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Unhappy

The format problem

Getting data off a tape is not purely an electronics problem. There are mechanical issues. Videotape recorders use rotating heads, and is an appropriate head / tape transport assembly still in existence? I'm fairly sure that anything done to a one-D signal with 1969 electronics could be re-done today at small cost (given the right specs), but re-engineering the hardware could be a much bigger problem.

Lets hope that whatever vintage hardware they can find in a museum or "graveyard" can be coaxed back to life.

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Boffin

@AC at 11:18

You should watch the film 'The Dish' - you can pick up an extremely weak signal, if you have a big enough parabolic collector...

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Anonymous Coward

@ jason 7

The hoax theory is horribly passé now that every argument for it has been systematically demolished. Those who espouse it now tend to wear shiney green tracksuits and claim to be the second coming of Christ so they can be grouped together.

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Badgers

History Unmade

Funny isnt it....

The Dead Sea Scrolls are still readable after 2000 years, but the records of 40 years ago are already nearing end of life.

What are the historians of the future going to look at?

Is anyone archiving models of the 8track, cd, dvd, bluray, etc readers? Or is that a waste of time as the media will have decayed?

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So sick...

... of all the remakes coming out these days.

Sheesh, better CGI (than the first time) and an upscale to HD is *not* a justifiable reason to remake such a classic as "The Moon Landings".

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IT Angle

rotating heads etc etc.

I'm sure that someone will think of the idea of just reading the whole tape over a static head and then getting one of Collossus' great-grandchildren to work out the correct order they need to be in.

After all it can't be more difficult than enigma.

And of course there is always ebay... :-)

Anyway where's the IT angle -- wait wot??

ttfn

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WTF?

Eh?

It is NASA we're talking about, they didn't even manage to convert to the metric system since the landing. I would sort off expect that applicable tape-drives are still in regular use over there. Otherwise, they have plenty of budget, they could just have one made for Chrissakes... if NASA cannot afford and pull-off proper restauration of some brittle old tape I do not see a particularly bright future for the agency.

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Stop

Sorry the article they found the tapes is a hoax.

I am a fully paid up Apollo fan and get really angry when folks say it wasnt real.

I didnt think about the way it could be interpreted.

Apollogies....(se what I did there?)

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Getting stuff off tape - no worries

There are companies all over the place specialising in retrieving old data from mag tapes of various varieties and vintages. If NASA seriously can't find someone to retrieve data off mag tape in the whole of the US then the entire agency needs closing, because an agency too thick to look in the phonebook is too thick to get a rocket into space. Of course it's always possible that the tapes are too knackered to get anything useable off them, but that's another problem. If they're useable, and they're in any commercial tape format ever, someone somewhere will have a machine to read them.

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Flame

huh?

"The hoax theory is horribly passé now that every argument for it has been systematically demolished. "

When and where has every argument for the fake moon landing not being fake (lol) been systematically demolished? There's no good proof that it happened and plenty of good counter arguments against the very escapade from taking place. Saying the moon landing happened 'because it just did' is like saying that the Jesus really existed because there's a Bible. Well done AC, have a banana.

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Re: Lost, but now I'm found

Of course it's always in the last place you look! Only a complete idiot would carry on looking after they'd found it!

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Alert

@AC 11:18

-Pure analog in 1969.

-Signal strength is no big deal. We are still receiving telemetry from the two 70s-era Voyager probes that have left the solar system! (and these only had 4-watt transmitters I believe--think CB radio)

-Not that Mythbusters is the de-facto authority, but there was an episode devoted to debunking the myth that the moon landings were faked. They did. Intelligently.

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Anonymous Coward

Weird format

One reason it's difficult to play is due to the weird format they used to beam it back (slow scan TV, interlaced with telemetry data). IIRC the only way they could televise it was to shove a video camera in front of the monitor that could display it, introducing many of the artefacts that resulted in cries of "conspiracy!"

I imagine the restoration will be waaaaay over the top and involve taking a digital image/magnetic scan of the tape(s) and effectively coding up a software player. Unless anyone's got a usable 14 track (1inch/track) at 120 inch/second that won't chew up the tape and is able to separate out the telemetry?

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Boffin

Oh FFS

It's a reel of tape. Which is nothing but a fancy slideshow. Scan the frames, encode it, post it to the toobs, done. Heads had better roll if they screw this up.

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Boffin

@Fake AC

" beam such a signal back to earth (signal diminishing over distance squared thing)"

Do you understand the term Beam? as opposed to say radiated.

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Troll

@AliBaBa

Wrong Icon.

<--You wanted this one.

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Fair enough, AliBaBa...

So how about you tell us what makes you disbelieve that the manned moon landings happened? eg what are the five best counter arguments, how do you explain the various pieces of evidence supporting that they did (eg the large weight of moonrocks sourced from multiple locations, the laser ranging targets, the apparent acquiescence of the Soviets in the cover-up at the very height of the space race), and please also say what would convince you that the landings did occur - ie your chance to demonstrate that you're driven by reason and not zealotry? (eg for my part, what would convince me they were faked is: detailed coverage of the landing sites showing nothing Apollo-esque & no reasonable alternative explanation such as a fresh meteor strike there. Or how about actual footage of the faking, details of the studios involved, the super-Surveyor probe series that must have been involved, etc)

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Stop

HD Copy

All this throwing around of the term "HD" forgets the fact that the camera was only sending about 300 lines of resolution anyway. So basically you are talking about the kind of resolution you'd get from a VHS tape. Not ignoring the fact the sensors in the camera wouldn't have been up to much anyway.

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@AliBaBa

Where's the tinfoil hat?

The biggest problem is that definitive proof seems to be impossible. There is no absolute proof they went there. Even the "what about the moon rock that shows no sign of atmospheric re-entry", "what about the moon reflectors that still bounce signals sent from earth" get met by:

"I believe the moon landings happened, I just don't think they were manned - robots could do all that" - as if that would be easier to pull off.

As a jumping off point, try the source materials that produced this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_evidence_for_Apollo_Moon_landings

My favourite "proofs" are the video footage of low gravity dust tragectory. Fake that in the 60's. Even the Apollo 13 movie couldn't manage that.

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Alien

Hoax theory - I don't think so

A few years ago I worked with a colleague who had been in the team at one of the Australian tracking stations. When I put the "Hoax theory" to him, he remarked that he had been responsible for aiming the dish himself. They pointed the dish in the right direction and received the expected data.

They picked up signals all the way to the moon, and they picked up signals all the way back again. Also, for several months afterwards, they also picked up signals from the stuff they left on the moon. His conclusion was that SOMETHING definitely went to the moon, SOMETHING definitely came back again and SOMETHING definitely stayed there. He commented that faking what he saw would have been a lot more expensive and difficult than doing it for real.

By the way, the Parkes dish is absolutely HUGE. I've stood next to it. You could build a small housing estate on it. I shouldn't think they would have had much trouble picking up a signal from the moon with that thing.

Of course, my colleague could just be part of the big conspiracy. Then again, so could I!

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@AliBaBa

Unless you witness something yourself, then *nothing* can be proved to be real ... and given that some people claim to have personally witnessed UFOs, and the Statue of Liberty disappearing on that magic show ... nothing can be 100% proved to be real.

So we apply logic, common sense and rules. We find people we trust to report accurately what they experienced, we look at video tapes and photographs, we analyse things to see if they make sense based on the "rules" that the physical world appears to follow, and we decide whether to believe government statistics, doctors' diagnoses, lecturers at college etc. And very importantly we test things to see if we can find counter-evidence to disprove each particular "fact" or assertion. And if there is a lot of good quality supporting evidence and nothing credible to prove the opposite, then we accept things as most likely true. Whether it is the maximum dose on medicine or the maximum load on a bridge.

I didn't walk on the moon, but the various bits of evidence around support that as being possible and very likely, and the counter arguments that I've seen have either been shown to be false/invalid or are misinterpretations or distortions of the "facts/evidence".

So I believe man walked on the moon, that the sun will rise tomorrow and that Tottenham Hotspur didn't win the FA cup last year.

"plenty of good counter arguments against the very escapade from taking place" - where? I'm intrigued, can you point me/us at some of these "good counter arguments"?

"There's no good proof that it happened" - aside from personal testimony, photographs, videos, echos from corner reflectors placed on the landing site, appropriate direction and distance radio signals picked up from many places across the globe triangulating to the correct place, many thousands of people involved in putting the missions together, and moon rock brought back. I'm sure I'm missing a few other bits.

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@ AliBaBa

"There's no good proof that it happened"

Except for those pesky mirrors (corner reflectors) that do reflect lasers....

And the fact that the signals actually came from the moon.. Ask the Austrailians (or the Russains).. and not from USA.

I think you've spent too long on the conspiracy thoery websites, and not enough time in the real world...

Geeze Sheeple will follow anything.. Ba Ba...

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Badgers

AliBaBa

is the only REAL FAKE...

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Joke

Good news and bad news...

Bad news is, they watched the tapes but no moon landing, it'd been taped over. Good news is - turned out to be the lost Doctor Who episodes

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Anonymous Coward

@Cullen Newsom

erm tape not film.. you cant just scan the frames there arn't any its 40 y.o. magnetic tape in NASA (read: non standard really expensive to develop and single use) Format!

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FAIL

Follow up

They *could* have faked the moon landings. But it would have been a lot harder than actually landing on the moon.

The conceivable (in the loosest sense) moon landing conspiracy theory is that robots landed on the moon, deployed those mirrors, a landing site, putting up a flag (which a surveyor will eventually see - unless that's why there's a new space race - to fabricate the evidence up there), collecting moon rocks, bringing them back. Not to mention broadcasting the faked telemetry and vox transmissions to the remote probe and bouncing it back. Oh, and managing to build an anti-gravity vacuum machine for their sound stage to ensure the dust being kicked up would have looked right - unless CGI was capable of doing particle level rendering back in the 60s?

Oh and keeping thousands of people on the QT. And sitting for 40 years on the technology that could bring rocks back from the Martian surface.

It really is a case of Occams Razor here...

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Joke

Simple resolution of the entire debate

If they lost the pictures, then it didn't happen.

:-)

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damn

Was going to post something erudite yet sparklingly witty to refute AliBaba. However, a whole load of others beat me too it. It's a conspiracy I tell you.

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I'm very grateful...

to all those people who say the moon landings never happened. It saves me the effort of listening to anything they say ever again, along with holocaust deniers and people who say Coors is a great beer...

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Feh

Worrying about whether or not the film can be read due to its flimsiness is just plain silly. So long as the film itself hasn't been damaged, it can be given the treatment such an important historical record is due; every frame can be painstakingly scanned in obscenely high resolution.

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FAIL

Hmmm, maybe my last comment was asinine

I suppose I was assuming it would be stored as photgraphic film (yes, I know, idiot.) I suppose it'd be magnetic tape, which might present an issue. Meh.

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Pint

@AC 13:55

Oh, rats. Here's to hoping that they didn't store the tapes next to the stereo speakers.

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Re-building a 729?

The part that got me in the original story was that they were planning on re-building an IBM 729 tape drive. Why?

When I needed some 7-track tapes read I was able to find someone who already had that capability, and surely NASA has at least as good connections and search savvy as I do. The only reason for starting again from scratch would be the mother of all N.I.H. complexes.

And, yes, the task requires nicely restored mechanics, state of the art electronics, and material-handling expertise. That's why you outsource it to someone who has done it before, multiple times.

Even if the tapes were some odd format, the mechanical and material-handling skills would transfer, and modern electronics would indeed be able to reduce the rest of the task to a "simple matter of programming".

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Pint

@Chris O'Shea

Dear Chris

I'm pretty sure that some things that i've seen were not real. Not at all.

AC, just in case.

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@paul murphy1 @ fake ac

One reason you can't read back the signals with a big linear head (whether multi-segmented or otherwise) is because a playback head has to be oriented with its gap at the same angle as the gap in the head that recorded the signal on the tape.

The head gap is usually oriented approximately at right-angles to the direction of the head movement. So change the direction of travel and you don't see a proper signal any more.

And the bit about beaming versus radiating: just because you use an antenna with gain (i.e. a dish or whatever) doesn't mean it is exempt from the inverse square law.

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Alien

Not Parkes, dammit!

Honeysuckle Creek.

http://members.tip.net.au/~mdinn/TheDish/

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Happy

Playmobil reconstruction,

or it didn't happen.

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Silver badge

Bah!

So another GWB promise is about to be fulfilled - A return to the Moon (landing footage).

No, really, I'm certain he said 'landing footage" under his breath. It probably says as much in his memoir.

(Wanders off humming to the tune of "Carmen Sandiego") Where in the world are the Weapons of Mass Destruction?

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