You’ve noticed all the hype these days about the first manned landing on the moon, the Apollo 11 mission, forty years ago this month, right? Newspaper articles, radio programs, “Where were you then?” requests for viewer/listener feedback, etc. . . . Unfortunately, yesterday NASA had to put out word that might dampen the celebratory mood somewhat, as the Flemish newspaper De Standaard reports: Original video-pictures of the first moon-landing lost. Specifically, the space agency can’t find any of the 45 (!) tapes of the videos made on the moon of the first “moonwalk” (not involving Michael Jackson in any way, but rather Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin) on what back on Earth was the night of 20-21 July 1969. It’s not that they haven’t tried to find them: in fact, spokesman Dick Nafzger claimed they have been looking for three whole years, after first discovering that they were missing in 2005(!).
Bummer. A full investigation is planned, you’ll be pleased to hear. And there’s plenty of other moon-landing commemorative material out there on the Net, anyway, as you can see from this link-collection Kai Biermann has put together for Die Zeit. You’re right, that’s in German; for those for whom that presents something of a barrier, let me just recommend from among those NASA’s entertaining and informative animated comic, an image-gallery of pictures that the astronauts themselves took on the Moon, and Google’s own moon-map where you can specifically see where the Apollo 11 astronauts (as well as those of other Apollo missions) did their thing.
The De Standaard article also mentions that, as a way to reclaim those lost videos to a certain extent, video-recordings of the moonwalks taken at the time off of television back on Earth will be “cleaned up” to make them more viewable by a California firm specializing in that sort of thing called Lowry Digital. Actually, Lowry Digital is based in Hollywood – another unpleasant surprise to NASA executives, who fear that this “cleaning up” of those substitute tapes will only reinforce the suspicions of a cover-up by those who believe that this “moon landing” was never anything more than a Hollywood production designed to fool the world.