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Happy 40th anniversary, mankind.
July 2, 2009 1:01 PM   Subscribe

Moon Landing Tapes Found!

All the videos you've seen of the first moon landing are crap. Remember, back in the day, video cameras and recorders were two different things. So it went like this: camera on moon sends footage to Australia, where it's recorded on tape (and then those tapes were lost), then downsized onto a smaller monitor, which is filmed by another video camera, uploaded to satellite, and disseminated around the world. America watches it on TV, cheers. Some of this footage is filmed off of a television onto 16mm film. This is what goes into the national archives. Crap.

So, the original tapes have been found (spoiler: they never left Australia). So what, right? How good could they be, recorded back in the late 60's and all? Pretty darn good, apparently...seems recording heads were much better than the output available at the time (like playing a Blu-Ray disc on a B&W TV), and several recent projects have shown that it's possible to extract very high resolution data from these old analog tapes. How hi-rez? High enough to see Neil Armstrong's nipples get hard. (be sure to click on that picture)

So when can we see this amazing footage? Probably soon.
posted by sexyrobot (93 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is totally awesome, and helps level the playing field between my dad and me as he always gloats about how he was alive when man landed on the moon. Take that pops!
posted by Elmore at 1:04 PM on July 2, 2009


Crucially, they could once and for all dispel 40 years of wild conspiracy theories.

LOL
posted by Krrrlson at 1:06 PM on July 2, 2009 [13 favorites]


It is awesome. Except that, well, it's probably not true.
posted by The Bellman at 1:06 PM on July 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also that picture of Armstrong's swollen nipples is awesome too. Very beautiful.
posted by Elmore at 1:06 PM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Crucially, they could once and for all dispel 40 years of wild conspiracy theories.

How...naive of you.
posted by Brak at 1:07 PM on July 2, 2009


Holy. Crap.
posted by middleclasstool at 1:07 PM on July 2, 2009


It was very considerate of them to fake the moon landing in high def.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:07 PM on July 2, 2009


Neil Armstrong's nipples get hard

STOP MAKING PROMISES THAT AREN'T TRUE

I much more excited by the idea of seeing Neil Armstrong's nipples than I could have ever imagined being before you DESTROYED MY DREAMS
posted by Kattullus at 1:07 PM on July 2, 2009 [9 favorites]


Except that, well, it's probably not true.

Glad I didn't finish that email to my dad then... shitpoofuckpiss!
posted by Elmore at 1:08 PM on July 2, 2009


But snark aside, this is most excellent news.
posted by Brak at 1:08 PM on July 2, 2009


Glad I didn't finish that email to my dad then... shitpoofuckpiss!

Ha! Being old FTW! You kids get off my moon!
posted by The Bellman at 1:09 PM on July 2, 2009 [8 favorites]


New and amazingly clear footage of the first moon landing.

Aha. So digital processing has finally gotten good enough that they can "discover" something that looks convincing. Well played, sirs, well played.

(Makes popcorn, starts countdown to first cries of "Photoshop!")
posted by rokusan at 1:10 PM on July 2, 2009


Crucially, they could once and for all dispel 40 years of wild conspiracy theories.

In a few weeks the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will take pictures from orbit of the actual hardware left on the moon. We'll be able to say "Look, see? There's the fucking lander, there's the fucking rover, there's the fucking rover tracks, there's where Buzz Aldrin pooped in his spacesuit..." and it still won't be enough to dispel 40 years of wild conspiracy theories.

Nutjobs are gonna be nutjobs, no matter how much evidence you give them.

Does NASA really care about dispelling these theories? Do they even take them seriously?
posted by bondcliff at 1:11 PM on July 2, 2009 [8 favorites]


It should be mentioned that Armstrong was known for being cool and calm.

The other interesting fact about Armstrong is that prior to Apollo 11 and being the first man on the moon, he had only spent about 90 minutes in space on the malfunctioning Gemini 8, but his levelheaded is credited with saving him and the co-pilot.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:13 PM on July 2, 2009


Ha! Being old FTW!

Did I ever tell you about the first Walkman I had?
posted by Elmore at 1:13 PM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Don't call an astronaut a "liar."
posted by ColdChef at 1:13 PM on July 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Don't call an astronaut a "liar."

Seriously. It's called acting.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:16 PM on July 2, 2009


Australia? It's always the last place you look.
posted by steef at 1:19 PM on July 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, it was one of the last places we found.
posted by Elmore at 1:21 PM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


It is awesome. Except that, well, it's probably not true.

Aha again! A coverup already!
posted by rokusan at 1:21 PM on July 2, 2009


Ah, but the LRO pictures will *also* have been altered to make it look like the hardware is there! Assuming the LRO isn't fake altogether.

You could take most critics to the moon, land by the lander, walk over and show them the bloody thing, and they'd still think you secretly planted it before they got there using modern robotics or something.
posted by ArkhanJG at 1:23 PM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


See also Shamus' blog post about this. You remember Shamus from such MeFi posts as Pixel City. The whole thing is likely is a hoax, as noted above.
posted by Nelson at 1:25 PM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nutjobs are gonna be nutjobs, no matter how much evidence you give them.

Do you have any evidence for that claim?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:26 PM on July 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


There is no spmoon.
posted by Elmore at 1:26 PM on July 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


A hoax-dispelling hoax? A meta-hoax?
posted by rokusan at 1:27 PM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


(be sure to click on that picture)

In case any one else got flummoxed by this the first time around, he means click on the picture that loads after you click on the link--you'll get the full hi-res version (and the "right" way up, too)--it's pretty frickin' breath taking.
posted by yoink at 1:27 PM on July 2, 2009


Jesus H. Christ, Houston... we're on the fucking moon.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 1:29 PM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Do you have any evidence for that claim?

M'lud, I would like to enter into evidence Exhibit A: the entirety of recorded history. I would also like the jurors to pay special attention to that part of Exhibit A we refer to as "the internet."
posted by yoink at 1:29 PM on July 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


a hoax!? oh noes!

dammit.

ah, well, it's worth it to finally at least see that footage of Buzz punching that guy. wow. you realize he's in his 70's there, right? tough sonofabitch! A relative of mine got to have dinner with him once and relayed the story he told of how he amused himself on the moon by throwing wadded up pieces of tinfoil as hard as he could...they could apparently be seen 'going on forever'...he's also quoted as saying 'I just couldn't throw enough foil'
posted by sexyrobot at 1:35 PM on July 2, 2009


In the nutjobs' defense, this is one instance where Occam's Razor fails miserably. Compare:

Proposition P: In a drunken anti-communist shopping spree, US spends ungodly piles of money putting a couple people on the moon.
vs.
Proposition Q: In a drunken anti-communist shopping spree, US spends a few thousand dollars making some low-quality film of some people who look like they're on the moon.
posted by kaibutsu at 1:38 PM on July 2, 2009


The whole thing is likely is a hoax, as noted above.

I don't know if I would say the "whole thing" is a hoax. The setup is true: there are lost tapes that contain slow-scan video from the moon landing. Here's a page at one of the Australian tracking station web sites describing the search for the lost tapes.

Here's the Twitter feed (my god I'm linking to twitter) of NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs. The relevant comment on the Express story is here. It reads, "We told Express that we are not in a position to discuss what has or hasn't been found. We didn't say 'yes' or 'no' and cannot yet."

That non-denial makes it seem like they might have found something...
posted by mr_roboto at 1:38 PM on July 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


So I shouldn't listen if this guy says he also found a bunch of Hartnell and Troughton Doctor Who tapes in the same box?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:39 PM on July 2, 2009 [6 favorites]


er... http://depletedcranium.com/?p=3107
posted by aeshnid at 1:42 PM on July 2, 2009


Crucially, they could once and for all dispel 40 years of wild conspiracy theories.

Sure, that's just what the reptilian super-race that lives in the hollowed out portions of the dark side of the moon want you to think. We gave it to them the surface after they helped us destroy the Nazi base in the Sea of Tranquility, and we made a deal that we wouldn't set foot on the moon after that.

Of course, now that we know that it's full of oil, we'll probably betray them, and that is going to suck, because they have some serious firepower. I mean, hell, look what they did to Atlantis!

Still, I look forward to looking at this moon "footage". I'm sure it will be very pretty and "educational" from a "historical perspective".
posted by quin at 1:44 PM on July 2, 2009


Ah ha! So the moon landing was faked in the Australian outback. How could we have missed this?
posted by Rashomon at 1:44 PM on July 2, 2009


oops er...
posted by aeshnid at 1:44 PM on July 2, 2009


So I shouldn't listen if this guy says he also found a bunch of Hartnell and Troughton Doctor Who tapes in the same box?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:39 PM on July 2 [1 favorite +] [!]


Only if he says he found those episodes in hi-def.
posted by cimbrog at 1:44 PM on July 2, 2009


Brings to mind the Australian film: "The Dish."
"In the days before the July 19, 1969 space mission that marked humankind's first steps on the moon, NASA was working with a group of Australian technicians who had agreed to rig up a satellite interface. That the Aussies placed the satellite dish smack dab in the middle of an Australian sheep farm in the boondocks town of Parkes was just one of the reasons that NASA was concerned. Based on a true story, The Dish takes a smart, witty, comical look at the differing cultural attitudes between Australia and the U.S. while revisiting one of the greatest events in history."
Official movie website.
posted by ericb at 1:45 PM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


How do we know when we've reached the threshold of evidence where we can give up trying to rationally persuade any remaining holdouts and just punch them in the face instead? 'Cause I'd like to start doing that with young-earth creationists and global warming denialists.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:47 PM on July 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Saw this on TV when it first happened, kinda boring. I'd much rather see rescued hi-rez footage of Laugh-In. How hi-rez? High enough to see Goldie Hawn's nipples get hard. (I'll be sure to click on that picture)
posted by CynicalKnight at 1:47 PM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


And you know, reading that twitter feed from Jacobs, it sure as hell seems like they've found something. He's being super coy; dropping hints while trying to not give the whole game away:

"An unfortuante report with out-of-context quotes. NASA has not yet discussed any results of the search."

"There is a search that is winding down. We hope to release an update publicly in the next few weeks. The UK report is fiction."

"Sadly, the report is inaccurate. The search is drawing to a close but NASA has not indicated anything about the findings."


He definitely knows something that he's not saying. If they've ended the search (it's "winding down"), they either found the tapes or discovered that they have been permanently lost or destroyed. My guess would be that if they had discovered definitively that the tapes were destroyed, they wouldn't be holding back on the "report". It looks like they're waiting for the anniversary to make an announcement.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:47 PM on July 2, 2009


It's a picture of balls.
/far, far too late to be relevant
posted by slimepuppy at 1:48 PM on July 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Isn't this "old news?"

November 2006: Lost Moon landing tapes discovered.

Or, are these different tapes?
posted by ericb at 1:49 PM on July 2, 2009


Ah ha! So the moon landing was faked in the Australian outback. How could we have missed this?
posted by Rashomon

Well, that's how some people see it...
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:50 PM on July 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Or, are these different tapes?

Ah, looks that way.
"However, it is unlikely that these tapes [discovered in 2006] contain the slow scan video. One of these tapes has since been sent to NASA for analysis."
posted by ericb at 1:58 PM on July 2, 2009


Isn't this "old news?"

November 2006: Lost Moon landing tapes discovered.

Or, are these different tapes?


Those were instrument data tapes. The tapes that are the subject of this search contain image data: they're video tapes.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:59 PM on July 2, 2009


I thought NASA had found the tapes, but were pissed that it had leaked early so were officially making no comment until they can do the big reveal themselves.

ericb - those are instrumation tapes, from the equipment placed on the surface and left behind. These new tapes are supposedly the original film footage, recorded at the receiving station directly, as opposed to the scan of the scan of the scan version we have now.
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:02 PM on July 2, 2009


Proposition P: In a drunken anti-communist shopping spree, US spends ungodly piles of money putting a couple people on the moon.
vs.
Proposition Q: In a drunken anti-communist shopping spree, US spends a few thousand dollars making some low-quality film of some people who look like they're on the moon.


...and pretending to invent Tang, Teflon, and Velcro as part of the cover story, while deliberately murdering (or faking the deaths of) astronauts that died during the program.
posted by nomisxid at 2:06 PM on July 2, 2009


Mighty fishy they happened to find them just now...
posted by Smedleyman at 2:06 PM on July 2, 2009


i need to know as soon as anyone gets the armstrong nipple pics to know if my astronaut fan fiction was accurate or not.
posted by the aloha at 2:07 PM on July 2, 2009


Actually, it is cool. Except it's on beta. Geeks.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:07 PM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


slimepuppy: It's a picture of balls.
/far, far too late to be relevant


Barry Zuckerkorn, is that you?
posted by Pronoiac at 2:14 PM on July 2, 2009


torrent plz
posted by paisley henosis at 2:16 PM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Couldn't NASA just land on the moon again? It would certainly obviate the need for these tapes providing us with authentic hi-res moon pix and dispell any conspiracy concerns.
posted by orville sash at 2:19 PM on July 2, 2009


Three weeks before the anniversary, sounds like some great conspiracy theorist ammo.

Aside from that, I'm totally stoked about this!
posted by futureisunwritten at 2:27 PM on July 2, 2009


Ah, well.

But hey, did you hear? This summer, Mars will be so close to Earth that it will look almost as big as the moon!
posted by longsleeves at 2:28 PM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Crucially, they could once and for all dispel 40 years of wild conspiracy theories.

Right. Because these people always listen to common sense.
posted by lumpenprole at 2:46 PM on July 2, 2009


I hear Barack Obama had the tapes destroyed because they showed the moon-men signing his real birth certificate. And you know who his real father was? Moon William Ayers!
posted by PlusDistance at 2:50 PM on July 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Rats. No wonder this wasn't linked anywhere else.
posted by futureisunwritten at 2:53 PM on July 2, 2009


Mighty fishy they happened to find them just now...

Hey Mr Smedley don't be askin' why,
cuz ya know you can't mess.....with American Pride.

— CS Lewis JR
posted by Senor Cardgage at 2:53 PM on July 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


All you Chicago-ites be sure to head over to the Adler Planetarium in a few weeks to see some of that new moon data. They're the public outreach center for the LRO Camera, the instrument gathering the sub-meter scale visible-light imagery.

Adler has just assembled a new exhibit including a 4x3 array of 42" LCDs, giving a total image size of 5440x2280 over an area 10" by 6". It will allow you to navigate the moon in 3D and interactively explore the new ultra-high-res LRO imagery.

The goal of this installation is to incorporate collected lunar data as soon as is possible given available technology. Adler is one of the official outlets for that stuff, so they'll practically be streaming it. Over the lifetime of the exhibit, that'll be 100 TERAbytes of data. Far more than any one person could sift through. So, your kid could be the first person to view a crater, a ridge, a big-ass rock, or a potential landing spot on the moon.

I developed the real-time parallel data renderer as an offshoot of my dissertation. We just brought up the basic installation in the last hour. It's showing old Clementine data right now.
posted by rlk at 3:03 PM on July 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


this is one instance where Occam's Razor fails miserably

Nope. All you have to do is simplify your terms:

Proposition P: US spends ungodly piles of money
vs.
Proposition Q: US spends a few thousand dollars

The simplest and most likely answer is obviously P.
posted by ook at 3:07 PM on July 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Jesus H. Christ, Houston... we're on the fucking moon.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 1:29 PM on July 2 [1 favorite +] [!]


I don't like the background ambient sounds in that one. Feels distracting

I like this version better.
posted by johnstein at 3:15 PM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


'...giving a total image size of 5440x2280 over an area 10" by 6"'

Sixty square inches would certainly be impressive.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 3:19 PM on July 2, 2009


I really hope this is true, and not some kind of lame hoax. It would be reassuring to think that for every event like this, a positive disovery at least partially balances things out, and our total knowledge of the past increases.

Imho, the moon landings were the most important events in history up to now, and we can't have too much information about them.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:21 PM on July 2, 2009


I heard they found the tape, but Buzz Aldrin had already taped over it with an episode of Punky Brewster.
posted by orme at 3:30 PM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Imho, the moon landings were the most important events in history up to now,

Curious, by what criteria do you say the moon landings were the most important events?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:38 PM on July 2, 2009


Mostly by the purely subjective criteria of awesomeness. But also because they're a clear break in history - the first time humans set foot on another world.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:45 PM on July 2, 2009


well, *sigh*, even if they haven't found the tapes after all, at least they've been taking good care of all the photographs taken on the moon. as i learned from the introduction from this book (Full Moon, by Michael Light, a must-own for all moon enthusiasts...make sure you get the larger first edition, tho), when they got back from the moon missions, all the negatives were carefully developed (a laborious process involving much special processing to deal with extreme lighting conditions) and from each of the original negatives five contact-printed master positives were made, and from each of these five archive negatives were printed (for a total of 25 from each original negative), which were distributed to various libraries, etc, around the country. the original nagatives and the five master positives were then placed in cold storage in a helium atmosphere, like, forever, until the digital scanning tech reached the quality necessary to justify taking them out of the freezer for a while, a job turned over to Mr. Light, who selected about 150 or so for the book...(like i said, it's amazing).
A bunch of the prints (including some massive panoramas...like 4'x16') are on display at the Rose Center for earth and space at the AMNH in NYC...check 'em out if you go
posted by sexyrobot at 4:05 PM on July 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Exploder 01 ftw.
posted by stinkycheese at 4:42 PM on July 2, 2009


Can you see the monster?
posted by homunculus at 4:57 PM on July 2, 2009


In the nutjobs' defense, this is one instance where Occam's Razor fails miserably. Compare:

Proposition P: In a drunken anti-communist shopping spree, US spends ungodly piles of money putting a couple people on the moon.
vs.
Proposition Q: In a drunken anti-communist shopping spree, US spends a few thousand dollars making some low-quality film of some people who look like they're on the moon.


Only if you assume Communists, the leading experts in space travel at the time (and no slouches at fakey tricky stuff), would be easy to fool.
posted by Artw at 5:06 PM on July 2, 2009


You know, assuming Communist Russia existed in the first place.
posted by Artw at 5:07 PM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


How hi-rez? High enough to see Neil Armstrong's nipples get hard.

You know I've been smoking this shit all day and I still can't see Neil Armstrong's nipples
posted by Pollomacho at 6:26 PM on July 2, 2009


Imho, the moon landings were the most important events in history up to now

I've always thought that getting people into space was a great scientific achievement, and landing people on the moon was a great, if not the greatest ever PR achievement.
posted by onya at 7:02 PM on July 2, 2009


As I have said previously: "I'm still utterly amazed that we (humans) can build machines like the Shuttle that hurl some of us into space. I still get goosebumps in watching Shuttle blast-offs and landings."

Landing men on the moon -- and returning them to Earth: beyond amazement for this mere human.
posted by ericb at 10:32 PM on July 2, 2009


Landing men on the moon -- and returning them to Earth: beyond amazement for this mere human.

And doing it with slide rules. Don't forget the slide rules.
posted by hippybear at 1:27 AM on July 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


So they have the tapes. Problem is there are no machines capable of reading the tapes. Or is there...Apparently the NASA SSTV system was a proprietary system. NASA has since dumped the tape machines. I did read somewhere about some collector getting his hands on a couple of non-working machines and that he is trying to cobble together a working system with help from NASA, but I can't find that article now.
posted by Gungho at 5:31 AM on July 3, 2009


I still can't see Neil Armstrong's Nipples

I have two extra tickets for their sold out Seattle show in August. Txt me!
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:12 AM on July 3, 2009


Wait, have I got this right? We landed men on the moon, and the whole world was watching, i.e. broadcast on every TV station everywhere, and the only video record we have left is somebody who pointed a 16mm camera at their black and white TV? Really? I'm filled with dumbfoundedness and rageahol.
posted by gofargogo at 11:33 AM on July 3, 2009


Wow, Being Neil Armstrong sounds like a bunch of arse.
posted by Artw at 7:00 AM on July 5, 2009


Pointing a cine camera at a screen (Kinescope?) was a common thing to do before the advent of widely available videotape, and since the system used was a modified slow scan there's not much else to do.
posted by Gungho at 9:37 AM on July 5, 2009


An update: looks like the tapes were indeed found after all, per this NASA press release. The restored footage will be released July 16th.
posted by jedicus at 5:59 PM on July 13, 2009


jedicus: An update: looks like the tapes were indeed found after all, per this NASA press release. The restored footage will be released July 16th.

Pffft, the good zero-day trackers should have it any time now. I'll add a 720p scene copy to my RSS feeds, hopefully it'll download while I'm asleep tonight.

Have to re-download it again next week, though, once the devotees get their hands on it, and do a more thorough rip, but it'll be worth it.
posted by paisley henosis at 7:37 PM on July 13, 2009


Houston, We Erased The Apollo 11 Tapes
An exhaustive, three-year search for some tapes that contained the original footage of the Apollo 11 moonwalk has concluded that they were probably destroyed during a period when NASA was erasing old magnetic tapes and reusing them to record satellite data.

"We're all saddened that they're not there. We all wish we had 20-20 hindsight," says Dick Nafzger, a TV specialist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, who helped lead the search team.

"I don't think anyone in the NASA organization did anything wrong," Nafzger says. "I think it slipped through the cracks, and nobody's happy about it."

NASA has, however, offered up a consolation prize for the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission — the agency has taken the best available broadcast television footage and contracted with a digital restoration firm to enhance it, so that the public can see the first moonwalk in more detail than ever before.

But the lost tapes mean that the world will probably never again see the original images beamed back to Earth by the lunar camera that is now resting on the moon's dusty Sea of Tranquility, right where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left it.

That special lunar camera recorded in an odd format that was incompatible with the format used for broadcast TV. So when the footage was received on Earth back in July of 1969, it had to be converted for the live television broadcast.

The conversion degraded the images, and hundreds of millions of TV viewers saw dark, murky pictures. [more]...
posted by ericb at 9:30 AM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


They're cleaning up the existing videotapes, & they've released some results (coral cache).
posted by Pronoiac at 9:39 AM on July 16, 2009


An exhaustive, three-year search for some tapes that contained the original footage of the Apollo 11 moonwalk has concluded that they were probably destroyed during a period when NASA was erasing old magnetic tapes and reusing them to record satellite data.

"I don't think anyone in the NASA organization did anything wrong," Nafzger says.


Well, except, you know, that. Fucking hell.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:45 AM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


"beep! That's one small step ... for a man ...
... one ... giant PR blunder for an agency struggling against a recent reputation for incomptence and shortsighted decisions when a mid-level NASA bureaucrat figured he would save the taxpayers a cool eighty bucks versus a fresh box of videotape ..."

*points* Ha haa!
posted by adipocere at 2:13 PM on July 16, 2009


The images of Armstrong and Aldrin stepping on to the lunar surface and planting the US flag in the grey dust were seen by an estimated 600 million people. The tape recordings, taken for backup, were an afterthought, Nafzger told reporters in Washington today.

"We all wish that somebody had said 'those tapes are special, let's pull them aside'," he said.


That's so WOW WHAT THE FUCK?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:16 PM on July 16, 2009


(Does Nafzger seem a little bit--how shall I put this--alien to anyone else?)
posted by Sys Rq at 2:22 PM on July 16, 2009


As a Slashdot poster pointed out, remember that the whole idea of video was different then. We didn't really _have_ recorders on a personal level. No home video market, no real access to movie cameras. Video was just for entertainment. They didn't think of it as something you archived, it was just a quick way of sharing what was going on while it happened.

Hell, even reusable magnetic tape was pretty new then, and the whole idea of data retention wouldn't exist for another twenty to twenty-five years.

I'd be willing to bet money that their paper archives from the era are voluminous, because that was how you saved the stuff you really cared about. You wrote it down. Video was evanescent, and computer storage was staggeringly expensive. If you wanted to keep it, you put it on paper, and took very good care of it. They've probably got blueprints and diagrams and procedures and test results and personnel records. And probably lots of still pictures. But video and computer data? Virtually all gone, because those things were relatively unimportant, and very expensive to store.

The best example I can think of: would you take a visual record of every day of your life? Of course not -- that's silly. You'd just record the 'important' things, without realizing that some of the small things that happened each day would turn out to be a really big deal. Today, for instance, thousands of people met their future spouse for the first time, and they didn't think to record it. In thirty years, people are gonna think we were crazy for not recording everything just in case -- it costs nothing, takes no effort, why on earth wouldn't you? Because, right now, it costs a lot, and we don't think of video records of our everyday lives as being worth preserving.

That's how the Moon project staff thought about the visual records of the day. The important data was in the cameras and on paper. The video was ancillary, and very, very expensive to preserve.
posted by Malor at 9:12 PM on July 16, 2009


I'd have to disagree. People had used film for over 100 years at that point and surely knew the analog to tape was film. It should have been treated as such, and not some random data that was deemed useless moments after it was recorded.

This was a major fail on NASA's part.
posted by Gungho at 8:34 AM on July 17, 2009


Seeing as how it's the 20th here in Australia - Happy 40th Anniversary.
posted by tellurian at 8:11 PM on July 19, 2009


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