… Maybe …. Sorta….

We’ve been burned by this one before. As you will recall, the claim was made that the visuals we all saw of the first steps on the moon by humans were a black and white compressed image sent from Australia, shown on a TV at Mission Control (or someplace) and then shot with an old fashioned TV camera (they only had the “old fashioned” ones back in those days, of course).

But, we were told, high quality color videos were taken at the same time but then lost right away. Then, we were told, they were found.

Then we were told by other people who seemed to know what they were talking about that these higher quality tapes did not exist, could not have existed, because the camera needed to make them was not sent to the moon on that first trip.

Well, now we have something directly fro NASA:

WASHINGTON — NASA will hold a media briefing at 11 a.m. EDT on Thursday, July 16, at the Newseum in Washington to release greatly improved video imagery from the July 1969 live broadcast of the Apollo 11 moonwalk.

The release will feature 15 key moments from Neil Armstrong’s and Buzz Aldrin’s historic moonwalk using what is believed to be the best available broadcast-format copies of the lunar excursion, some of which had been locked away for nearly 40 years. The initial video released Thursday is part of a comprehensive Apollo 11 moonwalk restoration project expected to be completed by the fall.

The Newseum is located at 555 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. The news conference will be broadcast live on NASA Television and streamed on the agency’s Internet homepage.

source

It will be very interesting to go back and examine what everyone has said in relation to what actually happens. This NASA news release says nothing about color, for instance. Nor does it say anything about “lost” tapes … just that tapes were in the archive.

So, it is quite possible that the original story is sorta true … that what was sent out for all to see during the event was crap (for reasons described, more or less) but it wasn’t lost, just not shown (or maybe it was lost and NASA prefers to use the term “in the archives” for “we lost it”).

Why didn’t they just show the higher quality tapes back in those days, like, after the astronauts returned or at some other time? Well, if you recall, and you probably don’t, this whole obsession with quality on the video screen simply did not exist back in those days. We felt lucky to have a magic moving picture box at all. Many people had Black and White TV’s even in the late 1960s, and a very large percentgae of American households did not even have a TV at all.

OK, well, actually, in 1970, just over 90 percent of housholds in the US had a TV, but fewer than 10 percent had a color TV, according to this.

I guess we shall see. Or not.

Comments

  1. #1 Jason Thibeault
    July 15, 2009

    I don’t see what the big deal is. All they’d have to do is go back to the sound studio and reshoot the scene, this time in high-definition digital.

    Seriously, I hope something comes of this. Tired of having my chain yanked.

  2. #2 Badger3k
    July 15, 2009

    I can see it now – the deniers will be stressing the “remastered” parts. You know, where they photoshopped out the alien base, or edited in the effects to make it look like they were really on the moon instead of a soundstage.

    But it will be interesting to watch what gets released. I was way too young to have any memory of the original landing.

  3. #3 Spiv
    July 15, 2009

    These are not the original “slow scan” images sent back to Aussie 40 years ago. These are, effectively, the best videos of the video screens taken by broadcasters in the mission control room. they will still be terrible compared to the real thing. I’m guessing they are “remastered” like light levels adjusted to pull the most detail out possible.

    The originals are still lost. Apparently. Possibly destroyed even.

    At least, that’s what I’m hearing around here. Not that KSC necessarily gets the latest and greatest on the rumor mill every time.

  4. #4 rob
    July 15, 2009

    @Jason Thibeault:

    nah. they didn’t want to reshoot with live actors. they had to wait until DARPA got the newest super computer online to create photo realistic CGI of the moon landing.

  5. #5 Bruce
    July 15, 2009

    I remember staying up late to watch it on a B&W TV.
    I think we had color TV by the time Nixon resigned.
    Man, the world was quite mesmerized back then.

  6. #6 Art
    July 15, 2009

    Not explicitly mentioned but back in the early 70s virtually no one had cable TV. Just about everyone, if they could get any signal at all, got every thing from an antenna, either rabbit ears or an antenna stuck on top of the building. If you got four channels you counted yourself as lucky.

    And yes, most of us were pretty happy to get any picture at all. Black and white with considerable amounts of snow and occasional interference were normal.

    Makes sense to me that a lower quality signal would be broadcast because it wouldn’t make any difference in what showed up on screen.

  7. #8 Greg Laden
    July 17, 2009

    You’ll notice that I mention here:

    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2009/07/primitive_beings_walking_on_th.php

    that my uncle was busy stealing cable signals. He lived at the time in the Adirondacks, and in the small town there was an experiment going on where cable was strung for people to use. In that area getting a signal was virtually impossible… it was either cable or nothing for TV.

    So of course, when they strung a cable by the rectory house, the priests figured out how to get their own signal for free .