In the news recently was acknowledgement by NASA officials they had lost all of the Apollo mission video tapes. http://www.forbes.com/technology/ebusiness/feeds/ap/2006/08/15/ap2952087.html
This is a stunning revelation for some points. 1) There is still controversy surrounding the moon landings. 2) NASA has been tasked with going back to the moon and only discovered the all tapes were missing recently. 3) Government agencies seem to be bad at keep track of objects; 2,000 boxes of video on reels, laptop computers with VA member information, computer hard drives from the National Nuclear Laboratory in NM, so forth and so on.
The above article is interesting in that it announces that the vast majority of the lunar mission tapes were never shown to the public. Tax payers spent million on these missions, thousands of people spent most of their adult working lives on these missions, a nation took pride in these accomplishments when there was little else to be proud of, and yet we only saw a sliver of a small fraction of the video?
The explanation of the video being shot at 10 frames a second and converted to the 60 frames a second for TV broadcast doesn’t fly too well with me. Now I only had one film class in college, and it was experimental film, but we did work with generic film stock and we did some odd things with video and film conversions, so if this was such a concern there could have been a much better and cleaner way of resolving the issue then repeating each frame 6 times. What would NASA have to lose by releasing the tapes sooner? Why haven’t they been converted into a more modern, and longer lasting, medium yet? How on earth could such a national treasure as this be ‘misplaced’ for a few decades? I was growing up at the middle of all this Apollo mission thing and remember some of it. I build replicas of Saturn V launch vehicles, did science and history reports on Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. This is the same as losing the video of the Berlin Wall coming down.
For what ever reason these 2,000 boxes became ‘misplaced’ one thing is sure. The GAO (Government Accountability Office) needs to keep tighter reign on the billions of dollars worth of items and articles the US Government owns, not just what the military pays for a hammer or toilet seat. Every business I have worked for conducts regular inventories, some annually and some semi-annually, why is our government so inept and keeping track of its items? The above report has stated that the tapes whereabouts has not been know for a few years now! Can the Spirit of St Louis disappear for a few years and no one notice?