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There’s no shortage of archival film footage of the moon landing—arguably one of humanity’s greatest achievements. But graphic designer Christian Stangl didn’t use any of it to create this short film. Instead, Lunar was created by animating thousands of still photos taken from NASA’s Apollo archives. The process involved assembling multiple photos to create wider panoramic vistas that could be animated, as well as finding images photographed in sequence that could be used to create longer animations by slowing and stretching out the motion. It took around two years to finish the film, including compositing everything together using Adobe After Effects, and the soundtrack, which was composed by Christian’s brother Wolfgang.
NASA held a news conference at the Newseum, in Washington, D.C. regarding the missing tapes on July 16, 2009 – the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11's launch from Cape Kennedy. The multi-national research team looking into the missing tapes – made up mostly of retired engineers that worked on the original broadcast in 1969 – was represented at the event by Richard Nafzger from the Goddard Space Flight Center, and Stanley Lebar, the former lead engineer at Westinghouse that developed the Apollo Lunar Camera and the Apollo Color Camera. They concluded that the data tapes – with the SSTV signal – were shipped from Australia to Goddard and then routinely erased and reused a few years later. Australian backup tapes were also erased after Goddard received the reels, following the procedures established by NASA. The SSTV signal was recorded on telemetry data tapes mostly as a backup in case the real-time conversion and broadcast around the world failed. Since the real-time broadcast conversion worked, and was widely recorded on both videotape and film, the backup video was not deemed important at the time. In the early 1980s, NASA was facing a severe data tape shortage for its Landsat program, and it was likely during this period that the tapes were erased and reused.