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NASA Moon Space

NASA Has the Lost Tapes 256

Posted by kdawson
from the we-know-what-you-did-on-that-satellite dept.
The Shuttle launch may have been delayed by two days, but NASA has better news to report. caffiend666 writes "As speculated a few weeks ago, NASA has found and is starting to restore the lost Apollo 11 tapes. A Briefing will be held July 16th at the Newseum in Washington to 'release greatly improved video imagery from the July 1969 live broadcast of the Apollo 11 moonwalk... The original signals were recorded on high quality slow-scan TV (SSTV) tapes. What was released to the TV networks was reduced to lower quality commercial TV standards.'"
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NASA Has the Lost Tapes

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  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday July 13, 2009 @08:36PM (#28684847)

    Umm, according to the technical specifications NASA itself published, the SSTV only had two modes -- 320 was the only mode used during the mission. The other mode, operating at 1280 lines, was never engaged according to mission reports from Apollo 9, 11, 13, and 14, which were the only ones to use a module capable of scanning higher than 320 lines (standard TV).

    Where, pray tell, did these tapes come from if the machinery was never enabled to run in that operating mode?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 13, 2009 @08:44PM (#28684933)

    RTFA.

    This is the 320 mode. It's higher quality because the broadcast version was converted to standard TV by pointing a video camera at a screen showing the transmitted version.

  • by WeblionX (675030) on Monday July 13, 2009 @08:53PM (#28685007) Homepage Journal

    They pointed a TV camera at a monitor displaying the SSTV footage so it would be compatible with TV broadcasts, hence lower quality.

  • Re:Glad to hear that (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 13, 2009 @09:21PM (#28685167)

    Coincidence. The search kicked off at least seven years ago [honeysucklecreek.net], when an ex-Honeysuckle Creek employee discovered an old tape in his garage. It was sent for analysis, in the hope that high resolution video of the Apollo 11 landing could be recovered. The tape turned out not to be of the moon landing. It did prompt people to ask "what happened to the originals", and kicked off a serious search. It turned out that NASA has misplaced their own copies.

    Copies of the telemetry tapes (hundreds of them) were eventually discovered in the basement of the Physics building at Curtin University, Perth, Australia. They had been placed in the Uni's care by an Australian scientist (Brian O'Brien) who had run an Apollo experiment. He had the tapes as a record of the data from his own experiment, but by luck the telemetry stream includes everything, including the video. It turns out that Curtin Uni thought they weren't that important, on the basis that if they were important, NASA would have already had copies.

  • by arthurpaliden (939626) on Monday July 13, 2009 @09:46PM (#28685303)
    Actually, if I remember correctly, all the 'monitors' that you see in the control room were all TV sets. There were only one set of computer monitors with a video camera infront of each one. You saw different data screens by changing channels.
  • by necro81 (917438) on Monday July 13, 2009 @09:46PM (#28685305) Journal
    The NYTimes has devoted its Tuesday Science section [nytimes.com] to the Apollo 11 anniversary. A feature piece tries to convey just what it was like [nytimes.com] that summer of '69, and the landing's backdrop of the Cold War. Another tries to list some of the impacts on popular culture of the time [nytimes.com]. Yet another tries to compare the Apollo effort to what it'll take to get back to the Moon and on to Mars [nytimes.com].

    Yes, there is also a piece on the hoax-spinners [nytimes.com].
  • by readin (838620) on Monday July 13, 2009 @09:55PM (#28685359)

    It's a neat mythology: if you believe the Moon Landing was faked, a hoax, then the soon-to-come high-def photos of the moon should answer that by showing the trash we left behind and that should still be there, the Lunar Landers.

    If you believe the landing was faked, then the fact that the high-res tapes were found only after sophisticated digital photo-shop techniques were developed helps cement your belief.

  • by flux4 (157463) on Monday July 13, 2009 @09:59PM (#28685381) Homepage

    ...here [wired.com]. Finding the tapes seemed nearly impossible at the time (2007) - the old reel-to-reel machines were dead, whole warehouses were being closed, and the people who were actually driving the recovery effort were mostly Apollo-class themselves - well into their golden years. It reminded me of some of the Library of Congress horror stories, only more desperate and with better special effects. If they do have the footage and can actually decode it, this is an amazing find - I wasn't holding out much hope.

    Another cool site is Colin Mackellar's Honeysuckle Creek Tribute Site [honeysucklecreek.net]. Tons of info on the recording, the differences in quality, etc.

    Really good news.

  • by Ron Bennett (14590) on Monday July 13, 2009 @10:26PM (#28685543) Homepage

    You're correct about NTSC not having a set horizontal resolution. Some could display upwards of 400 lines of horizontal resolution, but most TVs were designed with 320 +/- in mind. VCRs were lucky to get past 250; reason most stuff recorded on videotape appears excessively blurry. And one needs to think back to the early computer days in which the display and graphics were designed for existing TV-based CRT screen hardware.

    In regards to the vertical resolution, some of the 262 lines are in the overscan area on CRT based monitors leaving about 240 lines viewable.

    Ron

  • Re:Cool, any UFOs? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice@nOSPam.gmail.com> on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @04:34AM (#28687847)
    With all due respect, the GP said 'There is jack and shit for evidence of intelligent alien life as of today', and he is entirely correct despite your ranting - there is no evidence of intelligent alien life as of today. None.
  • by arthurpaliden (939626) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @07:49AM (#28688869)

    In 1969 the Americans first landed men on the moon. Now some people have made names for themselves by saying that this and subsequent landings never happened. Their position is that NASA faked them in order to save face and fool the public. To prove their point they rely on explanations of the reported events using dubious science and lay explanations that any first year science major would and does, laugh at.

    However, they always miss or purposely avoid the the one piece of irrefutable proof that it did in fact happen. That is that the Soviet government never refuted the American claims and they were in a unique position to do so. For even after the Americans landed on the moon the Soviets still continued to send orbiters, landers and rovers to the moon.

    http://www.russianspaceweb.com/spacecraft_planetary_lunar.html [russianspaceweb.com]

    Now if they wanted to get the goods on the Americans all they had to do was to land, photograph or explore with a rover the American landing sights. Just imagine the embarrassment not to mention the the damage to American credibility, at the height of the cold war no less, that such information would generate. Records even show that they never landed or even explored that areas that that American landings happened. So they did not even go and look to make sure because they knew it really happened.

    But they did not. They did not use it to pressure the Americans to stop bombing North Vietnam and Cambodia where Soviet military advisers were being killed as a result. They did not use it to pressure the United States to stop sending military advisers to and providing Stinger missiles to the Afghan fighters during the Soviet occupation. They did not use it to stop the Star Wars program of the Regan administration.

    In fact they did not even use it to turn the West's attention away from the Soviet Union during the Soviet Coup of 1991 when members of the Soviet government briefly deposed Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev and attempted to take control of the country.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_coup_attempt_of_1991 [wikipedia.org]

    Which every body knew was the last death throws of the Soviet empire. If they did not use the information then to turn the attention of the American, and world public, inward to their own governments lies and thus corruption and force it to ignore the events in the Soviet Union in order to deal with a damaging domestic and international issue. Then the proof of faked moon landings did not and never existed.

    One final thought. After the fall of the Soviet Union the Russian economy tanked. People were selling all kinds of stuff owed by the crumbling state, ships, weapons, artworks and knowledge but nobody ever approached any Western news agency or tabloid to sell them this information. And to say that one would buy it but not publish is foolish. The seller could just keep peddling it until some on did and then it would be old news and worthless until then it would still be worth something.

  • by lxs (131946) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @08:32AM (#28689223)

    Well the retroreflectors are there since they are still used for measurement purposes, but they could have been planted there by compliant aliens I guess...

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