According to an August 15 news item (news reaches me slow), a spokesman for NASA says the U.S. government has misplaced the original recordings of the first moon landing–and the other five landings as well.
“We’ve been looking for over a year and they haven’t turned up,” the spokesman said.
In all, some 700 boxes of transmissions from the Apollo lunar missions are missing, he said.
(You can see the report from the Reuters news agency at washingtonpost.com.)
The only recordings NASA still has are copies of the television broadcasts. But those are of lower quality than the originals. Because NASA’s equipment was incompatible with TV technology of the day, Reuters reported, the original transmissions had to be displayed on a monitor and re-shot by a TV camera for broadcast. Now the low-grade re-shot versions are all that’s left.
Hare Krishna devotees are unlikely to be surprised. At the very least, the loss is an instance of what the Vedic literature points to as one of the fourfold human defects: the tendency to make mistakes.
Or perhaps it’s something more. Back in the 1970s, Srila Prabhupada had some controversial things to say about the moon landings. I wrote about that back in 1977 (when shooting for Mars was in the headlines) in an article called Mars Bars: Why Mars? Why Indeed?
Still relevant. Not much has changed since then.
Oh, but one update:
According to rumor, sources close to the State Department say the missing boxes may have been stolen by agents of Osama bin Laden, who may be hiding them on the moon.
That’s not a problem. But what about the weapons of mass destruction that never turned up in Iraq? What if Al-Qaeda has stashed them on the moon too? We’d better get back up there fast!