Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lost Apollo 11 footage found!!!

Everyone is familiar with the images of Neal Armstrong exiting the Eagle LEM. Mostly dark and blurry almost unrecognizable except for the bulky humanoid on the screen. The really disappointing fact about the first few moments of Armstrong's excursion was that it didn't HAVE to be that bad. During that short segment, NASA was panicking. The picture should have been much clearer. NASA was receiving the Luna images through the Goldstone tracking facility. Unfortunately Goldstone's settings were wrong leading to a badly degraded signal. To make matters worse, by the time the error was discovered, Armstrong had decided to start the historic walk early, leaving the United States receivers below the horizon.

These blurry images were thought to be the only images surviving of the historic walk. In Australia however, radio telescopes were being used to pickup and forward the signals to the States. Recordings were made but the film was lost in archives for many years and was badly damaged when found. What the rediscovered footage uncovers though in a few short minutes is much much clearer images that many are saying are some of the best footage of the walk. Historians and astronomers that have viewed the films said the unseen minutes were the "best quality of Armstrong descending the ladder."

Discovery News article
Boing Boing article

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