Moon Landing: Special Edition

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Jul 1, 2009

Filed under: Rants 71 comments

So the word is out that super-special, high-definition version of the original moon landing tapes have been… found?

That is… unexpected. But this is what really caught my eye:

Crucially, [these new tapes] could once and for all dispel 40 years of wild conspiracy theories.

Actually, no. I’ve read the theories, and the deniers aren’t upset about the quality of the videos, but the content of them and the details surrounding them. Each side has an answer for the other, and I can’t imagine how higher resolution will settle any of the long-standing arguments. This is just going to give them new high-def footage to obsess over and a fresh batch of oddball facts to add to the list. This whole “found tapes” business is extremely fishy, and even though I don’t doubt that the moon landings took place, I have to say I feel like I’m missing something when I hear about these new tapes.

  • These original tapes were reportedly “lost as soon as they were made”, which doesn’t make a lot of sense. Someone put those tapes away. There couldn’t have been that many people in Parkes that would have handled them. They keep saying “tapes”, but of course the footage of the disembarking Armstrong is all on one tape, a recording of an exceedingly famous event. How does something like that get lost at all? The guy who pulled the tape out of the clanking steam-powered tape-maker they used way back in the savage 1960’s had to have been aware of what he had in his hand.
  • Okay, they got lost. This is a government operation, after all. But how did they stay lost for 40 years? The guy who pulled the tape never spoke up? Did someone put them in a box next to the Ark of the Covenant and then have a heart attack? This is arguably the most valuable footage human beings have ever shot. To reuse an old but appropriate phrase: We can put a man on the moon, but we can’t keep track of our old VHS cassettes? And we don’t make backups?
  • And suddenly the tapes are found, just in time for the 40th anniversary. As I’m sure the conspiracy theorists will say How conveeeenient.
  • Word has gotten out, but the tapes haven’t been officially announced yet, and instead they’re giving coy non-denials. This does not help their case. This is science, and being transparent and open with your data is more important than politics and public relations. The deniers claim the US faked the moon landings for bragging rights. And now we’re going to suddenly release a fresh batch of data, 40 years after the fact, and it’s being treated by a publicity stunt by NASA.

    I’m half expecting them to do a big George Lucas “Digitally Remastered” release in full color and surround sound.

Link (YouTube)
I’ll say this a second time just to make sure we’re clear on this point: I don’t doubt that the moon landings happened.

My uncle was involved in the program, and built some minor whoozit for the lander. There were a lot of people on that project. The idea that so many engineers could keep a secret (lie) for their entire lives (I’ll bet over half of them are dead now) is just ridiculous. (Engineers lie about as well as politicians can identify the load-bearing members on the unneeded bridge they had built in their district.) Compare the deceptive prowess of those hundreds of engineers with (say) the way the government is always leaking secrets held by small groups of spies and politicians. Having said this, the whole business with the lost tapes is more than a little fishy. This is not going to soothe the skeptics at all. It will do the very opposite, and give them a few more items on their laundry list of objections.

I do look forward to seeing the footage released. I would be very surprised of Google didn’t put it up a nice HD version for us all to gawk at.

I filed this post under “rants”. I’m not sure who I’m ranting against. The skeptics and their absurd conspiracy of thousands? NASA and their bumbling, tin-eared, PR-focused response to the skeptics? Myself for giving the skeptics yet more attention? I don’t know. I think I’m just ranting at the situation in general, which will go on annoying us for years to come. And also because I’m eager to see the new footage and I can’t yet.

UPDATE: Now it is suggested that the story is a hoax. Disappointing, but a lot more believable. Perhaps this is for the best. At least we don’t have to worry about NASA adding footage of Greedo shooting first.


From The Archives:

71 thoughts on “Moon Landing: Special Edition

  1. Shamus says:

    Since this might possibly be a hot-button topic, I encourage everyone to be extra-polite in order to keep things cool.

    (This goes double for you, Shamus.)

  2. Randy Johnson says:

    After some quick googling (I was baffled by this) I found this, stating “It appears as this may be a hoax as the original source is saying “NASA Deputy Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs, the Sunday Express article I link to below “is a fiction”. Sounds to me like I got duped, and I apologize to everyone for forwarding this story. Hopefully more info will come out soon, and I’ll update as I hear it.” Unfortunately it looks like we must live with the grainy video for another 40 years.

  3. Neil says:

    Lost? I believe that in a heatbeat.
    (Imagine in badly done Australian accent)
    “Hey Bob, which storage box do these master tapes go in?”
    “Oh, just chuck it in, they can sort it out on the other end, it’s all going to the same place anyway.”
    (Boxes are then sent to anywhere but the same place.)
    Turning up 40 years later, just in time for a celebration?

  4. Chris Arndt says:

    I’d like to emphasize that as competent as NASA is for shooting people into space and nearly competent for the purpose of getting them back safely from space, they are the most incompetent sacks of humanity when it comes to keeping historical records.

    A couple years back when they were pondering new lunar missions, or any sort of new missions, that would require a Saturn V rocket they realized that there are no complete over-all plans for a Saturn V rocket. They do not exist. They never existed.

    That is to say there are plans to assemble components that have been assembled already from plans that only explained how to assemble those particular components.

    But not every print, blue or otherwise, is in NASA’s possession, especially because not all the components were assembled or manufactured by any small collection of private companies but in fact… many companies spread out across the country, not all of which still exist and so there are not that many plans existing for all the requisite components. When a company folded they weren’t that quick to recognize historical or technological significance of one of their products and ship those specs to the Smithsonian.

    So as a result of poor record-keeping on NASA’s part they took the Saturn V they have on display outside and sent in archaeological teams to slowly disassemble the rocket from the inside out and assess what every component does, why it does it, how it does it, why it is necessary, how it goes into the rocket, and how to replicate that particular component later in order to build more rockets

    and I learned this from Nova on PBS…. government television.

    These guys are morons when it comes to saving and presenting stuff for posterity. More so than most government agencies, sad to say, and this is the most inexcusable considering how space exploration is the hardest to justify government expenditure.

    I mean the government wastes a lot of money and the whole purpose of government thing is controversial indeed, but whether I am a rightist (see my blog) or a leftist who believes cradle to the grave government care is best or that the Alliance was right and good in the Serenity movie… the burden of proof to justify government money being spent on ejecting objects and people from this terrestrial body lies on the people least capable of collecting and presenting evidence to a governing body.

  5. SolkaTruesilver says:

    I say it’s Barack Obama’s fault!


    I say it’s Bush’s fault!


    Okay, seriously. The problem I have with the whole concept is that they had high-definition tapes at the time and never used them?

    Look. My personnal theory is that they merely re-enhanced the previous tape with proper digital alterations, filtering out bad qualities. So it’s not 100% kosher, but it’s as close to the original as they could have had.

    Like the Mona Lisa, or any other “Great Painting” that have been “refreshed” over the ages…

  6. Strangeite says:

    I had a astronomy class in college in which one of our fellow students was a “The Moon Landing was Faked” nutjob. The professor instead of arguing, cancelled class for that day and told us all that we had to make it up at the observatory the next week. When we arrived he showed us the sophisticated equipment and in particular a highpowered laser attached to a large telescope. He fired a quick pulse of the laser, which hit one of the prisms left on the moon, bounced back and was recorded by the telescope.

    The professor then turned to the student and asked how the prism was placed on the surface if we never set foot on the moon?

    I learned a valuable lesson that day. Instead of trying to argue with idiots, simply present them with evidence of their stupidity and ask how they are able to rationalize said fact.

    1. Sydney says:

      I’m one of those who believes we went to the moon, but that the video we’ve all seen a hundred times isn’t a real recording of the first landing.

  7. Seth Johnson says:

    Looks to me like someone was ‘inspired’ by the story that was going around the web a couple months ago about the group working to inspect and restore high-res footage of the Moon in an old McDonalds:

  8. Rutskarn says:

    Uh, you guys above me did see Randy’s comment, right?

    Looks like it’s a fake. What a flippin’ shock.

  9. McNutcase says:

    From the contacts I have at NASA, it’s prefectly plausible they’ve lost the tapes. They’ve lost a HELL of a lot. And their internal information channels are still very very bad. The major method of getting accurate information to the People Who Do Stuff in NASA is not, as you might expect, e-mail, inter-office memo or something sensible.

    It’s Wikipedia. No lie. There is more accurate internal NASA information on Wikipedia than there is on NASA’s own internal sites.

  10. Palette says:

    As a slight aside —

    I have found that if you are dealing with a Moon Landing Denier, and lack the capability to bounce a laser off the prism left there, you can (99% of the time) shoot them down with this logic:

    “The Moon Landings were done at a time where the Soviet Union and the USA were desperate for a propaganda victory over each other… hence the entire space race. If, as you posit, the landings were faked, why then did the Kremlin not publicly denounce it as American trickery?”

  11. Groboclown says:

    As someone who has worked with NASA (I was with Lockheed-Martin, a contractor with NASA for the shuttle and ISS; some of my code may still be used with the ISS), I can say that they generate reams of paperwork that is never looked at after the first day.

    However, the JSC library is really nice.

  12. Given the sort of computer vision stuff being done lately, we should very soon be able to take the original tapes and upgrade at least some of them to HD with reasonable quality and fidelity. Maybe somebody was playing with that and a rumor got out of hand.

    For example, see: , which also has links to a couple of other things at the bottom, it seems. Yes, that exact technique might not be useful, but I’ve seen a lot of stuff along that line lately. It’s only a matter of time.

  13. CmdrSue says:

    Hmmm. Well, my first instinct is that something so outstanding wasn’t “lost” so much as it was “midnight requisitioned.” If people pay for other stolen one-of-a-kind artwork and historical paraphernalia so that they can put it in their little secret room of goodies… well, you see where I’m going.

    As for NASA’s ability to stay organized, they are one of the few federal agencies to be almost completely innovation driven rather than control driven, which a quick look at an organization culture chart tells you that they are on the other end of the spectrum from the typical bureaucracy. They should probably outsource their documentation and control needs to another agency (or maybe the Library of Congress). Because if you try to get them to embrace their archival needs they will stop innovating. Oh, hey, maybe that’s what’s been happening to our space program…

  14. BaCoN says:

    Well, besides the fact that it’s obviously a fake, I wonder how many of us are supporters of the theory that it’s fake, or that it’s real? I can believe that this is something akin to the “Do you believe in God?” question, and I hold a similar stance to it. As a Canadian(and therefore AUTOMATICALLY Agnostic), I’m not sure I’m qualified to a) pick apart the potential inconsistencies in the original film b) consider the possibility that the US government would present a hoax on this GRAND a scale and c) care.

    I say the last not because I don’t think man has a base need to explore space(we like to ask why, and where better to ask why than the great beyond?), or that it’s just another “American thing”. I don’t care because it doesn’t matter if we did or we didn’t. If we did, we’ll do it again, and if we didn’t, we’ll do it in the future. It WILL happen, even if it HAS happened before, and it’ll happen on another planet, eventually.

    This is the truth about the indomitable human will and spirit.

    So, do you believe?

  15. MattF says:

    I think it’s pretty easy to dismantle the Moon Hoax position if one considers the mechanisms necessary to perpetuate a hoax on this scale.

    It’s been estimated that 400,000 people worked on the Moon program. It’s difficult for that many people to keep a secret. Their bankrolls reveal no large payoff. (One hoaxer I spoke to countered with: “They were given the money, but they weren’t allowed to spend it.” What kind of stupid incentive to stay quiet is that supposed to provide? What good is money you can’t spend?)

    Alternatively, perhaps the only people who “knew” were the astronauts, film crews, and a few government officials. Fine. So all these engineers are lied to and told that they need to figure out how to build a machine to take people to the Moon. Engineers are not stupid. Given a challenge like this, they’ll do their best to figure out the difficulties involved and attempt to surmount them. When everything’s done, you have a machine which — according to some very smart people — should be able to take us to the Moon. So why not go?

    As far as documenting how it was all done, I encourage you to plunder the NTRS servers. It’s not as well-organized as I might like — the documentation is being archived by volunteers, so I can’t be too picky — but the amount of information recorded detailing just how we did what we did is nothing short of staggering. I’ve filled several DVDs with PDFs detailing more than I’ll probably ever be able to read before I kack.

  16. Allerun says:

    This somewhat explains how the “tapes” got lost.

    They weren’t actually recorded on the moon, but rather in Austrailia via a radio telescope, and then somehow lost.

  17. AlfieUK says:

    I spotted this article when looking for news about it, seems to have been posted the day before, and has technical info about the tapes used, recovery techniques, etc (page 3 mentions the Apollo 11 tapes).

    As the ‘tapes found’ story was released in the UK by the Sunday Express, I doubted the truth of it, we are known to have ‘Summer Madness’ stories, particularly by the ‘Sundays’ battling for readership :)

  18. Lazlo says:


    Of *course* they didn’t use them immediately. It was the 1960’s. No one had an HDTV to watch them on. I’m sure that’s why there’s been all this push to get HD technology advanced, so that we could *finally* watch these tapes that have been just sitting around gathering dust for lo these many years. Probably has something to do with the broadcast DTV conversion too…

    (BTW, yes, I’m joking)

  19. Ingvar says:

    The one thing I CAN believe (if, as you’ve already indicated, this isn’t a hoax) is tapes being subtly misfiled and not found for decades. I’ve tried to locate several terminal servers (those clunky old boxes with a bunch of RS-232 ports on one end and a network connection on the other), installed in a hospital. They’d been installed for between 6 months and 3-4 years, but needed locating. They all had an “installed location” (floor, corridor, distance from reference point) record and a little tag under the drop ceiling. From memory, 10% were more than 15 metres from where they should be.

    Now, imagine a tape (or several), with no label, being shoved into a tape library (nonono, not one of those things tah helpfully stacks and unstacks tapes automatically; shelves with tapes on them), one or two shelves off. By mistake. Easy to happen, you know. You’re stacking things in shelf row 17, shelf unit 12, shelf 3. Or was that row 12? Shelf unit 3? Anyway…

  20. Magnus says:

    The one thing I can’t stress enough, is that you should NEVER trust the Daily or Sunday Express.

    It’s one of the worst newspapers in the UK, and really thats saying something.

    Back on topic, I have never heard a good moon landing conspiracy. The arguments go from misinformation to downright lunacy (see what I did there).

    I wish we still had the ability to capture the imagination of the world with science. As someone who works in a lab, I worry about the lack of impact of the great scientific discoveries of the past twenty years. There are too many people who take this sort of thing for granted, and forget about the thousands of people who work hard every day often for very low pay to try and unravel the secrets of the universe or create a better world to live in.

  21. Chris Arndt says:

    I’m not saying an innovative agency should have a bureaucracy to hold them back, but any enterprise that wishes to maintain funding from outside sources should document stuff successfully in order to…. blah blah blah… create visual incentive.

    I don’t know how NASA stays funded. At least welfare and social security people can provide real-life old people and poor people. NASA gets money by pointing up.

  22. ZeroByte says:

    There’s other cool moon missions that there are footage of. For example Japan’s Kaguya probe crash landing into the moon. Sure its a reconstruction but its still damn cool for what it is.

  23. Chris Arndt says:

    Here I apologize… it wasn’t Nova, it was Wired Science (the television program).

    Their blog entry is less informative and helpful, certainly less fun or detailed than the segment of the episode.

    But you see my point, yes?

  24. RibbitRibbit says:

    So you say the Aliens stole them, huh? Interesting.

  25. Lalaland says:

    There’s no mystery the footage was captured in Woomera Australia stored on magnetic tape then down sampled for US broadcast tv. The originals were of course on a bespoke format and once the program ended who the hell needed them. In particular what Australian scientist needed higher quality moon landing footage that can’t be played in any equipment known? It reminds of that interview recently with yer man who worked on the Vectrix, he earned a lot of his cash running lessons on older mainframe kit he maintained in his garage. IT and broadcasting is littered with odd bits of no doubt consequential footage in the corners of attics and such. The conspiracy crowd aren’t actually asking questions they’re defending whatever whacky answer they’ve come up with (“it was a sound stage in Denver, no wait, Mars!!!!”).

  26. Lalaland says:

    @Chris Arndt

    Yup they’re massively wasteful but no more so than Darpa or the multi-billion dollar DoD ‘black’ budget. I think they’re quite similar in many ways the succesful ‘black’ projects have mostly been exotic things such as the U” SR71 and we mostly celebrate NASAs edge of technology stuff, the moon landings, Hubble. To be honest most of the problem is no-one can agree what NASA does, is it aeronautical research, is it space exploration, is it physics? Most science is best done with robots but that’s not sexy like spacemen

  27. Danel says:

    Wait, this came from the Daily Express? Is Princess Diana on the moon?

  28. Joe says:

    @11 Groboclown: I’m working there (at GSFC) as a civil servant and I can tell you that it has only gotten worse. Endless amounts of paperwork to do the simplest tasks. It’s currently my job to manage a huge amount of paperwork for the upcoming GPM project.

    Of note to the discussion: LRO (Lunar Recon Orbiter) has entered polar orbit of the moon and is set to start sending back hi-res pix of the entire surface. One of these surfaces is, naturally, the landing site. We’ll be able to see the remains of the site and the scaffolding where they hung the lights to help encourage the conspiracy.

  29. Joe says:

    @27 lalaland

    Most of NASAs current projects are for Earth studies. MMS is going to be launching to monitor and map Earth’s magnetic field, GPM and TRMM monitor rainfall over the globe. The A*Train monitors just about everything at some point. Then there are the telescopes, JWST and Hubble, as well as Esa’s new telescope sat, which look for earth like planets to further our understanding of the universe.

    Then, in 2020, we’re planning on a Lunar settlement mission.

  30. Chris Arndt says:

    @Lalaland The other part of the problem is that unlike the “black” R&D like DARPA the advances and technology that NASA develops is purportedly supposed to be a “white” (or whatever) branch of tech… it’s supposed to be promotional stuff, and the results, if not the techniques, were big loud public shows in order to boast technological superiority… over someone.

    But since our so-called competitors are publicly not in a space race with us (at least not that our government will publicly acknowledge) NASA is back to being a government-run scientific agency… which lacks a sexy purpose as you say.

  31. Jabor says:

    Incidentally, NASA returns about $7 to the US economy for every dollar invested in it.

    Making it one of the most cost-effective government agencies running.

  32. Dev Null says:

    I learned a valuable lesson that day. Instead of trying to argue with idiots, simply present them with evidence of their stupidity and ask how they are able to rationalize said fact.

    Really? And that works for you? The guy in question backed down and changed his tune?

    I find that most of the conspiracy theory set are supremely uninterested in evidence. Any attempt to shoot them down with “facts” is simply evidence of the depth of the conspiracy; should you actually be in a position to debunk them with physical evidence yourself, as your professor was, is simply proof that you are in on it. Meanwhile, any tiny inconsistency in the data that the conspiracist is not able to immediately explain is obvious “proof” of the fakery (as opposed, say, to something worth investigating to see why it is the way it is. Alas, poor Science! I knew him Horatio…)

    Phil Plait has a good site debunking a lot of the more common “evidence” of the fake landing, but as he himself points out, cutting off a head only grows nine more…

  33. B.J. says:

    What I’ve never understood about the Moon Landing Hoax people is, if we faked the moon landing, why did we bother to fake it six times? None of the other landings after the first got anywhere near as much publicity, so why go through all that trouble?

  34. Ravens Cry says:

    Even if they find the tapes, and they are in excellent condition, and the figure out some way of reading them, we already know about how much detail there will be from the 8mm footage and photos taken of the slow scan signal at Honeysuckle creek. There will be more detail and better contrast, but it will not be exactly HDTV. You can’t get out more information then is put in. Sorry, CSI: Photo Enhancement Unit, reality doesn’t work the way you think it does.
    Here’s a good deal of info on the people who manned Honeysuckle Creek, one of the Australian stations
    And some photos of what it actually looked like originally.

  35. GM says:

    34 BJ i’m guessing it took six tries and perhaps they like it there or just wanted more sambles of moon rock,

  36. Sylvia says:

    Really? And that works for you? The guy in question backed down and changed his tune?

    Presumption, M’Lord. He never said that.

  37. Fred Christ says:

    Wait a second. I don’t know about this “just in time for the 40th anniversary” stuff. I’m pretty confident I heard this story on NPR that they’ve been looking for these tapes in a warehouse in Australia something like two years ago.

    Ahhh, here’s the article, and it was 3 years ago: Search Is on for Original Apollo 11 Footage

  38. Chris Arndt says:

    Sweet mercy, Jabor, I really want to know how they do that…

    and how much money a private enterprise could make if created at such a scale….

  39. Anthorin says:

    Did no one see the 2-part Mythbusters special on the moon landings?

    They went through a number of the major conspiracy theories (Shadows wrong, footprints etc) and showed that all of them were perfectly possible.

    While I realise this is an entertainment show, the program certainly provided enough evidence to debunk some of the conspiracy myths.

    (Aug 27 – 2008 Season)

  40. Gasoline says:

    “At least we don't have to worry about NASA adding footage of Greedo shooting first.”

    Hahaha! Thank you, you made my day!

  41. Mephane says:

    For quite some time I considered the moon landing could have very well been fake. I’ve recently purchased a book about the whole affair, and it gives interesting details, for example, the option of the moon landing being just filmed in a studio on earth was proposed to reporters right before it was shown live all around the world. Maybe that story was some sort of plan B, in case anything doesn’t delevop as NASA wished.

    For example, there are NASA documents stating that if they *would* find alien artifacts on the moon, their existence would be kept secret for national security reasons – I don’t say they did find something like that (I consider this possible, however), but if they did and some footage with proof would get leaked, they could always resort to the old story of “it’s all been faked, you know, Cold War and all that”.

    But that’s, of course, just another conspiracy theory. ;)

  42. Matt says:

    take a look

    nat geo proposes to reveal “untold facts” about the moon landing on the 40th anniversary. this could be big, but then again how far would they push the conspiracy angle, i’m not sure!

  43. nilus says:

    Are there people out there who actually believe the moon landings were faked. And by people I mean people not wearing tin foil hats.

  44. There’s motive for them to fake it: to say to the russians, we’re more advanced than you are.

    Doesn’t mean that they did fake it, of course.

  45. guy says:

    @ conspiracy people

    You do know that the russians tracked the apollo mission to the moon and back?

  46. Andrew McGrae says:

    The thing that always gets me about the moon landing conspiracies is that the evidence is always so “easy”. To some extent, taking a quick reality check about what is being claimed is more useful than answering the criticisms directly.

    The omnipotent government agencies who run this type of thing hire tens of thousands of people to pretend they worked on the project and spend the next 40 years preventing a single one from breaking the silence. They painstakingly create the illusion of having built a machine that can take humans to the moon and back, they fake samples of moon rocks and obtain scientific data that has scientists fooled to this day, they hire Bigfoot to shoot JFK (probably). They do all this and then… they forget to put stars in the background of the photos?

    Seriously, even if there weren’t simple explanations for the criticisms the moon landing deniers (“skeptic” means someone who disbelieves due to lack of evidence) come up with, do you really think an organisation as talented as the Evil Government Conspiracy would screw up on such a simple point? And for that matter, would the Russians have been fooled by something that can be debunked so easily? Exposing the moon landings as a hoax would be great PR for the Soviet Union, but strangely none of NASA’s counterparts on the other side were observant enough to see that the flag waves about a bit after they put it in the ground.

  47. Logicaly_Random says:

    Even if the tapes are real, it’s not that implausible that they were lost. Remember, NASA is both a government agency and run by engineers. This means that both government inefficiency and the tendency of engineers to forgo documentation would be at work.

  48. SolkaTruesilver says:

    I won’t buy any of it anytime soon. I’ll wait for the DVD, with the outtakes!

  49. Stark says:

    @Chris Arndt –

    Jabor is correct, historically NASA has returned a net gain of about $7 dollars to the economy for every tax dollar spent there. This is because all of the amazing technologies (and they are amazing) they develop for space flight are released very quickly to the public sector for use. The benefit to humanity in terms of better living conditions that can be directly attributable to NASA activities is far greater than that $7 dollar figure. Most notably NASA is responsible for creating digital image processing and digital photography – beyond the obvious revolution in cameras these technologies made things like CT and MRI scanning possible. NASA is often attributed with inventing the MRI though it did not do so – but it certainly made the MRI possible and NASA technologies are used in several parts of MRI machines (not just the image processing).

    NASA is, in fact, the best current model for how a government agency can provide real and tangible value to the citizenry. They have their issues – as do all large organizations public and private – but being budgetarily wasteful is not really one of them.

    Oh, it should also be noted that NASA accounts for 0.55% of the federal budget. If you are looking to make meaningful budget cuts, NASA is not the place to do it. The fact that NASA can send probes to other planets, keep a space station in orbit, and do all of the completely astonishing things they do for so little cost (comparatively) is frankly amazing. Just imagine what they could do with what we spent in Iraq last year ~ $130 billion.

  50. Vladius says:


  51. Kazeite says:

    So, yeah, this is three year old news. I remember reading about it as well.
    And in case you were wondering, USSR and USA were only pretending – there was no Cold War, and USSR was bought off with food to keep silent, and all lunar soil was either faked in “radiation oven”, or brought down by unmanned missions (which also left lunar mirrors), so there ;)

  52. Joe Cool says:

    Huh… no one arguing that the moon landings were faked? I guess that responsibility falls to me.

    *Puts on tin foil hat*

    Of COURSE the moon landing were faked. They were actually filmed (get ready for this) on Mars. Remember the footage people across the world saw of Neil Armstrong? It was black and white, right? That was to hide the fact that the ground was actually red.

    See, NASA was testing the experimental technology that they had acquired from the Roswell alien ship. The advanced near-light speed rocket engines allowed the Apollo astronauts to travel to Mars in just a few days. But NASA didn’t want the Soviets to know they had that sort of technology, so they made the much more believable claim that they went to the Moon.

    The Soviets did in fact track it, but due to relativistic effects, it looked like it was going to the Moon. The successive “moon” landings were because of subsequent tests of the technology. Apollo 13 was the only Apollo mission actually headed to the Moon, but because they tried to under-power the fusion drive, it led to the on-board explosion that cut the mission short.

    This also explains other holes in NASA’s official explanations, such as why there are no stars visible in the shots, and why the shadows aren’t completely black: both artifacts of the Martian atmosphere.

    Also, this is how NASA kept all its engineers quiet. They really did believe they were building a moon rocket. Only about a dozen people knew the rocket was bound for Mars.

  53. Decius says:

    The only reason that the “original” tapes have any value is that there wasn’t enough bandwidth to transmit industry standard video.

    So the lunar cameras were transmitting some oddball video standard that wasn’t compatible with modern television sets.

    That meant that there was a signal converter- not quite as jerry-rigged as a camera pointed at a display, but not much better. After all, the orignal tapes would still be available.

    The tapes were stored with all the other telemetry tapes from the mission. Then shipped all together to various warehouses. Some of the tapes were even re-used to store date later. (GASP! Government non-wastage!).

    Now, there is no machine still being used that can read the tapes, and the details of the storage method have been lost. (Do you know how to decode archaic media? If I gave you a Capacitance video disc, but no player would you be able to figure out how to play it?

  54. Pickly says:

    Of course, if the above “conspiracy theory” were true, there would need to be some way of covering up the direction of signal antennas coming from mars (so that it looked like the signals came from the moon), and would have to pick up some signal technology as well that avoided the 8 minute or so delay, plus found some super advanced material to allow the “lunar module” to actually enter Mars’s atmosphere, and use that advanced fusion drive to allow it to take off again, and I’ve run out of ideas at the moment.

    (See, I’m with THEM. muahahahaha…) :)

  55. Squire James says:

    If NASA got ~100 billion more $$, I’m almost positive they would become more wasteful. The only reason I think they get anything at all accomplished is because the big spenders think of NASA as “small fry” and thus there is actually money left over to do some science.

  56. Anonymous says:

    You know what’s a better conspiracy:
    Why the last time I saw anything about tabletop rpgs was on March 26th.

  57. Rossmc says:

    Weird. I just started reading Moon Dust by Andrew Smith. An account of the astronauts personalities, relationships with one another, and the effect their adventures had on their later lives. In the words of the astronauts themselves.

    I just got through a chapter covering the CM pilots. The guys who waited in orbit for those who landed on the moon.

    These guys spent 47 minutes of every moon orbit on the far side of the moon. As remote from humanity as any humans have ever been. Inky blackness on one-side, and infinity on the other.

  58. schnalle says:

    please, don’t give george lucas ideas – he might put jar-jar binks in the remastered version!

  59. Somebody Else says:

    Of course the moon landings were fake, along with 9/11. The US government has always been desperate for any kind of good publicity they could acquire – or even any publicity at all.

    But I’m surprised nobody here has mentioned the real whopper: The internet. I mean, we’re supposed to believe something as widely implausible as a publicly accessible information network, allowing the transmission of any kind of data imaginable, including audio and video… based only on 1’s and 0’s?! How gullible do they think we are? That kind of technology is simply impossible! And if you think otherwise, that’s just because the NSA are using their mind-control death-rays to make you think otherwise.

    Also, the Titanic was only a model filmed in a glass jar in Abe Lincoln’s backyard. He was shot to preserve the secret.

  60. I’m with you about the moon landing happening. Everybody loves a conspiracy theory, so of course people are going to deny big things.

    That said, my first thought when I saw the headline was, “uh-huh… suuuuuure.” Besides, any time a matter is settled (and lets face it, this matter is settled), *any* new evidence will be used by the other side because they are desperate to shake things up. I can guarantee that if any new evidence actually comes to light about the moon landing, no matter *what* the evidence is, it will be used by the moon landing deniers.

    Also: “Why the last time I saw anything about tabletop rpgs was on March 26th.” – Anonymous <– That’s a good point… I’m beginning to wonder if this blog is still FTB9000-compliant!

  61. Blackbird71 says:

    I resent all the comments that we engineers are poor at documentation and lack organizational skills. In fact, I’m so upset that I think I’ll file a formal complaint.

    Now where’d I put that complaint form…

    @Anthorin (40)

    Yeah, I saw that episode. It was the first thing I thought of when I read this article. Unfortunately, while it was entertaining, it wasn’t gong to change the mind of anyone convinced of conspiracy.

    I recall an episode of a sitcom (can’t remember which one) where a character stated that the moon landing was fake, and his friend became obsessed with convincing him that it was real. The friend went so far as to bring in a real astronaut to prove his point. By the end of the show, the conspiracy theorist had convinced the atronaut that it was all fake.


    Hey, what a coincidence – my great uncle was an engineer on the Apollo project. During the Apollo 13 disaster, he was part of the team on the ground trying to figure out how to fix it.

  62. Bercilac says:

    @ conspiracy people
    You do know that the russians tracked the apollo mission to the moon and back?

    This is the most convincing piece of evidence so far. Other than that, I also go for agnosticism. It is POSSIBLE that the engineers built a machine that was never used; that a handful of people were paid off or told it was “for the good of the country”; that all future evidence of a landing on the moon was placed during later expeditions that actually DID take place; and that the Soviets didn’t see nuttin, but who wants to point out the Emperor has no clothes?

    So the conspiracies seem vaguely plausible to me. So does the established set of “facts” (from the Latin for “things that are made”). This leaves me with an extremely difficult decision: do I trust the word of tin-foil wearing whatevers… or the American government? It’s not a straightforward call!

  63. FPM says:

    i just found a quite interesting documentary about the 40th anniversary of moonlanding! NATGEO celebrates the 40th anniversary of the moonlanding, too.

  64. William says:

    Well, It was true, CNN states that cleaned up photo’s and a 2 minute video have been released.

  65. Rob says:

    If man really landed on the moon, tapes would not have been erased. No one had VCR’s back then. But if they did, it would be so obvious how FAKE the entire hoax was! NASA didn’t want to be busted in the obvious fakes so they had to wait until 2009 to RE-CREATE…. Please!!! With the technology we have today, we can make people believe anything they see. They had caveman technology back then, and couldn’t even come up with different background shots. Check out the shadow effects on any Moon Hoax web site. If Nextel’s don’t work in basements, and cell phones drop all the time, tell me how the heck we were able to communicate with the astronauts so clearly, as if they were talking on the phone! And truly, if Armstrong was the 1st to land on the moon, WHO WAS VIDEO TAPING COMING DOWN THE LADDER!!!!!!!!!???????? AND WHO TOOK THE PICTURE OF BOTH ASTRONAUTS STANDING TOGETHER, WHEN THEY WERE THE ONLY ONES THERE?? hello??? THIS WAS A HOAX………..PLEASE PASS IT ON!!!!! There were many NASA employees killed because they were going to leak out the Truth!!!

    1. Shamus says:

      Rob: All of your points have been addressed, many times over. It’s one of the most flimsy and ridiculous conspiracy theories, ever.

  66. Falco Rusticula says:

    The naysayers apparently never took A-level physics. Or else they never saw the clip of a hammer and a feather falling at the same rate -which would never happen in Earth’s atmosphere.

    Yes, this is a random addendum; I just happen to think that that clip is really neat.

  67. Rayen says:

    again i know this post is a couple of months old and it has already been said most likely, BUT, NASA has a really bad habit of misplacing things. they misplaced the lenses and calibrations for the hubble telescope, they misplaceda rover on mars, they accidently misread their own calculations (the whole meters/feet thing) for another mars rover and drove it into the ground, and most importantly or at least closely related to this subject; We cannot put another man on the moon becasue in addition to misplacing these tapes they also misplaced the blueprints and specs for a lunar landing module. probably one of the greatest inventions of mankind and they can’t remember what they did with the blueprints for it.

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