NASA Hints It's Found Missing Moon-Landing Videotapes

It looks like NASA has found the missing moon-landing videotapes.

A carefully worded media advisory note issued Monday promised that "greatly improved video imagery from the July 1969 live broadcast of the Apollo 11 moonwalk" would be made public Thursday.

Rumors have been flying around the Internet for weeks that NASA, after years of searching, had discovered the original recordings of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's lunar excursion — which the space agency once feared had been accidentally destroyed.

The story, as summarized by Britain's Sunday Express newspaper in late June, was that the tapes had been found in a storage facility in the basement of a building on a university campus in Perth, Australia.

Monday's statement appeared to confirm that report, stating that the footage comes from what is "believed to be the best available broadcast-format copies of the lunar excursion, some of which had been locked away for nearly 40 years."

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

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

The rediscovered footage will still be in black-and-white, but will be much brighter and clearer than what we've been used to seeing for the past 40 years.

On Tuesday, NASA spokesman Mark Hess would not confirm to that the new footage came from the lost tapes, admitting only that some of it had indeed come from Australia.

Instead, he directed the media and the public to wait until Thursday's official press conference, to be held at 11 a.m. EDT at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

"All will be revealed," Hess said.

• Click here to read the NASA media advisory.

• Click here to visit's Space Center.