NASA says the original film depicting Neil Armstrong taking his "giant leap for mankind" on the moon has been lost.
NASA says the TV version of the July 1969 event has been saved. But the sharper, far better quality original image has been lost, The London Telegraph reported Monday.
The man NASA had placed in charge of the images from Apollo 11, Stan Lebar, says the tapes were apparently filed and, as personnel retired or died, the location of the recordings was forgotten, the newspaper reported.
"I just think this is what happens when you have a large government bureaucracy that functions for decade after decade," Keith Cowing, editor of the Web site NASA Watch, told The Telegraph. "It's not malicious or intentional ..."
Now some scientists are urging NASA to intensify its search for the film.
"For all we know, it's sitting somewhere in a nice, cool dry place, exactly where it should be, but someone's mislabeled a routing slip," Cowling told the newspaper. "I can't imagine they'd throw this stuff out."
Copyright 2006 by United Press International
Explore further: NASA issues 'remastered' view of Jupiter's moon Europa