NASA Goes to the Dark Side

Leaving no stone unturned in its search for the missing moonwalk tapes

August 25, 2006

2 Min Read
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4:30 PM -- Could aging rockers Pink Floyd hold the key to the mystery of NASA's missing tapes? (See Houston, We've Got a Storage Problem.) Quite possibly, according to news reports in Australia this week.

With staff at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center still scratching their heads and wondering where the 13,000 missing tapes might have gone, Australian rock video director Peter Clifton may hold the clue.

Back in 1979 the Sydney native got his hands on half an hour of moon landing footage from the Smithsonian Institution for a film he was making on Pink Floyd's famous Dark Side of The Moon album. This, ironically, may have saved the tape. Last week a NASA spokesman confirmed that the other tapes from the Apollo missions were last seen in the mid-1980s, and have since disappeared off the archive map, much to the space agency's embarrassment.

After hearing about NASA's storage snafu on the news, however, Clifton dug the tape out of his own personal archive and, according to reports, is now looking for the documentation that accompanied it in the hope that it will shed some light on the whereabouts of the other missing tapes.

This may sound far-fetched, but NASA is desperate for anyone who can help it at the moment. Just as at Los Alamos National Lab two years ago, the space agency has launched a major search for the tapes and is even chasing down retirees in an attempt to turn up the missing data. (See Los Alamos Fallout Continues, A Tale of Lost Tapes, and The Year in Insecurity.)But, if NASA can't recreate its own paper trail, then, sadly, the missing tapes may as well be on the dark side of the moon.

James Rogers, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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