New Australian footage of Neil Armstrong's moon walk

Sep 28, 2010
US astronauts Neil Armstrong (right) and "Buzz" Aldrin deploy the US flag on the lunar surface 20 July 1969 during the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. Long-lost footage of Armstrong descending the ladder of the Apollo 11 lunar module will be screened in public for the first time in Sydney next week, a prominent astronomer told AFP.

Long-lost footage of Neil Armstrong descending the ladder of the Apollo 11 lunar module will be screened in public for the first time in Sydney next week, a prominent astronomer told AFP.

The runs for a few minutes and is considered to be some of the best footage of the historic 1969 , but the film was lost in archives for many years and was badly damaged when found, said John Sarkissian.

It depicts the first few minutes of Armstrong's descent which was recorded in Australia as was still scrambling for a signal, showing a far clearer image than was initially screened worldwide.

Telescopes in remote Australia played a key role in the , including provision of the television signal, after Armstrong decided to attempt the moonwalk early, putting the United States just beyond the horizon.

Sarkissian -- historian and astronomer in charge of the Australian side of the recordings restoration project -- said the unseen minutes were the "best quality of Armstrong descending the ladder."

"NASA were using the Goldstone (California) station signal, which had its settings wrong, but in the signals being received by the Australian stations you can actually see Armstrong."

"In what people have seen before you can barely see Armstrong at all, you can see something black -- that was his leg."

The segment which runs for "just a few minutes" will be screened at the awards night of Australian Geographic magazine next Wednesday, at which Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin will be the chief guest.

"When we heard Buzz was going to be the guest of honour we thought 'what a great opportunity'," Sarkissian said.

The Armstrong footage, which has only previously been seen by Apollo veterans and other members of the astronomy community, would form part of a highlights reel of restored, digitised moonwalk footage at the awards, he added.

There was a "long detective story" involved in the search for the footage and Sarkissian said it took painstaking frame by frame work to shift the material from the deteriorating black and white film to digitial format.

"It was very damaged tape as well, that segment of Armstrong at the beginning," he said.

Digitising the recording was "significant in the space flight history context" allowing it to be preserved and copied for future generations, said Sarkissian.

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User comments : 8

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Nik_2213
5 / 5 (5) Sep 28, 2010
Sadly, it won't convince the usual sceptics...
AngryMoose
5 / 5 (4) Sep 28, 2010
You would think that for an experiment of such monumental importance they would probably take care of the results a little better than to lose them in archives. I'm pretty sure if I recorded myself walking on the moon I might hold on to it :)
Bob_Kob
1 / 5 (1) Sep 28, 2010
If anything it'll add fire to the sceptics.
RocketScientist5KN
not rated yet Sep 28, 2010
I am skeptical that the sky is blue.... How much of your life are you willing to waste to convince me that I am wrong?
sstritt
1 / 5 (1) Sep 28, 2010
You would think that for an experiment of such monumental importance they would probably take care of the results a little better than to lose them in archives. I'm pretty sure if I recorded myself walking on the moon I might hold on to it :)

Really! Just another example of bureaucratic incompetence! What other treasures have been lost that we don't even know about?
ToSeek
5 / 5 (3) Sep 28, 2010
TV was never much of a priority for Apollo 11 - they had to scramble to include a camera at all. It's not all that astonishing that keeping the best copy of the video wasn't a concern.
jwalkeriii
5 / 5 (2) Sep 29, 2010
Keeping in mind the program was effectively shut down and without money the Government does not expend resources. It's not like they hired someone for life to manage moon walk related videos the day after the space program funds were effectively cut off. Stuff was literally stuck into rooms without a thought for preservation. People just didn't think that far out back in the day. So what we have today is the result of bureaucracy, but certainly not malicious. It's been 40 years... People have since died, stuff gets lost in life as footage was borrowed and moved in cubby holes, etc.

Reality check folks... Today's digital conversion processes just didn't happen quick enough sadly; not to mention interest in this topic of preservation didn't really start picking up until Tom Hanks did his Apollo 13 movie in 1995.
yyz
not rated yet Sep 29, 2010
These long lost Apollo 11 tapes were actually presented to the public over a year ago, to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission: http://www.univer...in-2009/

Many can be viewed here: http://www.nasa.g...o11.html

As pointed out above, much of this data from this era is in pretty bad shape. Even NASA admits, some footage from Apollo 11 was probably erased decades ago! This article describes some of the problems with this archival data: http://www.univer...ts-left/