NASA Lost Moon Footage, but Hollywood Restores It

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The restoration used four video sources: CBS News originals; kinescopes from the National Archives; a video from Australia that received the transmission of the original moon video; and camera shots of a TV monitor.

Both Nafzger and Inchalik acknowledged that digitally remastering the video could further encourage conspiracy theorists who believe NASA faked the entire moon landing on a Hollywood set. But they said they enhanced the video as conservatively as possible.

Besides, Inchalik said that if there had been a conspiracy to fake a moon landing, NASA surely would have created higher-quality film.

Back in 1969, nearly 40 percent of the picture quality was lost converting from one video format used on the moon, called slow scan, to something that could be played on TVs on Earth, Nafzger said.

NASA did not lose other Apollo missions' videos because they were not stored on the type of tape that needed to be reused, Nafzger said.

As part of the moon landing's 40th anniversary, the space agency has been trotting out archival material. NASA has a Web site with audio from private conversations in the lunar module and command capsule. The agency is also webcasting radio from Apollo 11 as if the mission were taking place today.

The video restoration project did not involve improving the sound. Inchalik said he listened to Armstrong's famous first words from the surface of the moon, trying to hear if he said "one small step for man" or "one small step for a man," but could not tell.

Through a letter read at a news conference Thursday, Armstrong had the last word about the video from the moon: "I was just amazed that there was any picture at all."

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On the Net:

NASA restored video: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/hd/apollo11.html

NASA audio from the lunar module and command capsule:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission(underscore)pages/apollo/40th/apollo1 (un derscore)audio.html

NASA's replay of the Apollo radio in real-time minus 40 years:

http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/apollo11(underscore)radio