— was my response when I woke up this morning to hear our old buddy David Moore from Astronomy Ireland on RTÉ’s morning news show, talking about a story that the tapes of the Apollo 11 moon landing had been mislaid.
Citing a letter to the Herald, a member of the team involved in the search for the missing tapes, Bill Wood, described their article as “great disservice to a group of Australian and US Apollo tracking station veterans involved in a new search for better Apollo 11 EVA images.”.
Mr. Wood pointed out that one of the tracking stations that these tapes had been recorded at was hosting a detailed description of the process Earth-side. Written by John Sarkissian of the CSIRO Parkes Observatory it gave a fascinating glimpse into what was done to show the world Neil Armstong stepping onto the Moon’s surface.
What Bill Wood, John Sarkissian, and their other former Apollo 11 colleagues are trying to track down are the recording of what was broadcast from the Moon, referred to as Slow-Scan TV (SSTV). This raw data was recorded onto 1″ wide magnetic tapes at the same time as it was converted for terrestrial TV broadcast. As far as the paper trail goes, there are about 700 boxes that might contain the these coveted tapes. They are mixed in with recordings from the entire Apollo era, meaning there is a lot of footage that, with modern techiques, could offer far clearer pictures of man’s first visits to another celestial body.
(Here’s the full article at Space.com that the quote above is referencing. It makes it clearer that the tapes being sought are archived backup data.)
[tags]moon landing, Apollo 11, tapes[/tags]