NASA: Our dog ate all the moon landing videos

Last year, NASA said it shot high-quality video of the moon landings but never made copies and managed to lose or destroy all the originals, probably by copying over them:

NASA probably taped over its only high-resolution images of the first moon walk with electronic data from a satellite or a later manned space mission, officials said today.

It means that the familiar grainy and ghosting images of Armstrong’s “giant leap for mankind” are all that remain from the mission, though the space agency has managed to digitally restore the footage into new broadcast-quality pictures that it released today.

“I don’t think anyone in the NASA organisation did anything wrong. It slipped through the cracks and nobody’s happy about it,” said Dick Nafzger, one of the last Apollo-era video engineers still working for the agency at Maryland’s Goddard Space Flight Centre.

That NASA lost or destroyed ALL original videos from the many moon landings is beyond unbelievable.

Also strange is that NASA designed its own video format and video camera so that only NASA could possibly view the moon landing videos:

[The moon landing videos'] loss apparently went unnoticed for 35 years, until 2004, when an archive in Australia alerted Nasa that it believed it had found the lost tapes from the Apollo 11 mission. It shipped the tapes to Goddard, where Nasa maintains what officials say is the only machine in the world capable of reading the old tape technology. The first tapes did not have moon footage.

Even weirder, the original video was never shown on TV! The world watched a “bootleg” video of a video: “[Moon landing videos] broadcast on [television live]… were taken by a television camera pointed at a giant wall monitor at mission control in Houston – effectively a copy of a copy.”

Actually, what we — I was one month old and sitting on my grandmother’s lap — saw was a video of a video of a video because the relay stations that supposedly received the video transmissions from the moon and relayed them on to NASA “converted” the original proprietary video format to standard 525-line/60-field NTSC video by videotaping it again at each relay station:

The tapes that were the object of the massive search were not standard video recordings, but rather 1-inch instrumentation tape on which narrow band video shared space with mission telemetry and other information about the spacecraft and its crew. The 14-inch reels ran at 120 inches per second, with each holding about 15 minutes of data. Slow scan video from the camera on board the lunar lander occupied one of 14 tracks laid down on these tapes….

Due to communication channel bandwidth limitations, standard 525-line/60-field NTSC video could not be relayed to earth from the moon. NASA had a special camera constructed that produced video that fit within the 500 KHz channel that was available. It produced 320 lines at 10 frames a second, non-interlaced.

In order to provide video to the estimated 600 million persons watching that evening, NASA also had special standards converters constructed for each of the tracking stations that would be in acquisition with the lunar lander. As electronic components weren’t nearly so sophisticated then, the converters relied on simple optical conversion─a standard NTSC television camera trained on the screen of a special slow-scan monitor being fed with the lowered line number and frame rate video.

While this simple conversion tactic worked, it was far from satisfactory. Contrast was blocked up and a large amount of noise and other distortion was added to the video.

To summarize: * NASA invented special video cameras that captured video in a format no one else could decode * NASA recorded videos only in this special, secret format * NASA kept possession of all the videos (until it destroyed them) * NASA kept possession of the only machine capable of viewing the video * NASA never broadcast any of the video or even video of the video. It claims to have broadcast the video to its relay stations where it used different video cameras to re-record the video. It then projected that re-recorded video onto a giant wall monitor at Mission Control, which television stations then re-re-recorded. * NASA did nothing with its invaluable original moon landing video recordings for 35 years * When Australia (home to one of the relay stations) handed NASA possible Apollo moon landing video footage, NASA declared it was not moon landing footage and admitted that ALL of its many recordings had been destroyed

It’s certainly not proof the moon landings are a fraud, but it certainly isn’t what one would expect if NASA actually landed men on the moon.

NASA has made plenty of moon-related videos over the four decades since. Didn’t it (or The Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum) even once wonder, “Where are those original films?”

Posted by James on Thursday, August 19, 2010