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Missing Moon-Landing Videotapes May Have Been Found

Just in time for the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing, NASA may have found the long-lost original Apollo 11 videotapes.

If true, as Britain's Sunday Express reports, the high-quality tapes may give us a whole new view of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's lunar strolls.

Back on July 20, 1969, the raw video feed from the moon was beamed to the Parkes Observatory radio telescope in southeastern Australia, and then compressed and sent to Mission Control in Houston.

Because of technical issues, NASA's images couldn't be fed directly to the TV networks.

Instead, the grayish, blotchy images Americans saw on their TV sets were the result of a regular TV camera pointed at the huge wall monitor in Houston — a copy of a copy, in effect. (Australians saw slightly different footage.)

Those images survive, and anyone can see them on YouTube. But the original, sharp, black-and-white tapes that were recorded at Parkes vanished.

NASA had thought they'd been shipped to the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., But a search there a couple of years ago turned up nothing.

Around the same time, though, a cache of tapes containing data from moon-surface experiments from the entire Apollo program was discovered in a university basement in Perth, Western Australia, on the other side of the country from Parkes.

According to the Sunday Express, NASA has combed through those tapes and found the original Apollo 11 video footage.

"We're talking about the same tapes," an unnamed NASA spokesman told the newspaper, though he added that "at this point, I'm not prepared to discuss what has or has not been found."

FoxNews.com's requests for comments from NASA were not immediately returned.

• Click here to read more in the Sunday Express.

• Click here to read about the saga of the missing videotapes in Wired magazine.

• Click here to view what Australians saw on their TVs that day.

• Click here to visit FOXNews.com's Space Center.