BRAD MELTZER'S LOST HISTORY
I watched this show last week. It's interesting. Last week they were in search of Apollo Moon rocks that had disappeared.
Here's a stream of consciousness set of notes concerning this program. But I suggest you check out the History Channel site. If for no other reason
than Brad Meltzer is an interesting and amusing host.
Brad Meltzer's Lost History: Moon Landing Tapes
The first 18 minutes cover the Moon landing tape issue.
The standard Apollo 11 landing video is inspiring but grainy and dark. NASA had hi res of this video but it is lost.
A tech found a hi-res photo in Australia while looking through old records. It is of the landing, but it is good quality.
Polaroid shot of video on screen as it was received from the moon. Can actually see reflection of LM in their visors as they read the plaque on the
July 20th, 600 million people watching. 1/6th of the Earth's population.
Signal from camera received in Australia. Displayed on tiny screen of about 6", then recorded on big tv camera in use at the time. Then sent around
the world via satellite. Outstanding achievement at the time.
But mag tape was capturing the actual video that was being seen on the screens of the techs.
In 1990's a tech working at Parkes Observatory, John Sarkissian, decided to answer the question of which station in Australia was actually receiving
the video, because everyone claimed it was them.
NASA couldn't find the tape. Then he found the polaroid and realized how crystal clear the images actually were.
He got in touch with the NASA engineer who put all of the video broadcast systems in place, and then they realized that nobody knew where any of these
Then another NASA engineer thought that they may be in his garage!!
In all there were 45 tapes used to record the landing. Can't find any of them.
12 - 15 minutes per tape. 4 recorders at each downlink station.
At a reunion of engineers from Apollo era in Australia, one engineer admits to making a backup of one of the tapes as a souvenir. But doesn't say
anything for fear of getting in trouble. Had it in his garage for over 30 years.
Nobody in Australia had equipment to play it because it was ancient technology, so it was sent to NASA in US.
They played the tape, but found it only contained telemetry data from 1967.
Then the story went public and the SHTF.
Then they found out that all of the tapes had been sent to the National Record Center of the National Archive in Washington, DC.
The room where the tapes are stored is 3 or 4 football fields in size with shelves 25 feet high filled with boxes of data.
Metzler: Like the final scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
220,000 tapes and other artifacts.
No unique markings on any of the tapes. No one knew they were handling precious artifacts.
Horror: NASA started reusing tapes in the 70s and 80s because they were running out. So they erased and reused them without paying any attention to
what they were.
They are still optimistic because they know a duplicate set of tapes were made. And perhaps someone else did as the Australian engineer did and saved
Seems there was a process in place to make video copies of the tapes that the lead engineer didn't even know about.
But nobody knows where they are either.
If you know where they are, you can get a reward from the show.