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Mankind’s giant leap, soon on DVD

mumbai Updated: Sep 13, 2009 01:58 IST
Serena Menon
Serena Menon
Hindustan Times
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Forty years after man landed on the moon, the world will get to see the first digital recording of the historic event, when the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the US releases the two-and-a-half hour footage on DVDs and Blue Ray discs next month.

This will be the culmination of a five-year effort by NASA, which had lost the original lunar camera tapes.

The next-best recording was scattered in devices across the world, in locations that broadcast live the video transmitted by the Apollo-11 spacecraft in 1969.

Destination Moon

The Apollo 11 mission was the first manned mission to land on the Moon.

On July 20, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin were the first humans to land on the Moon.

They spoke with President Richard Nixon who called it “the most historic phone call ever made from the White House”.

The mission fulfilled US President John F Kennedy’s goal of reaching the moon by the end of the 1960s.

“The discs will be for sale at a nominal price,” Richard L Nafzger, the NASA official who initiated the hunt, told Hindustan Times. “We have not yet spoken of putting the video on our website, but even that might happen soon.”

NASA has given the task of splicing together the disparate recordings to Los Angeles-based Lowry Digital, owned by the Anil Ambani group firm Adlabs Films, which is cashing in on rising demand in the US for digitising film reels.

The DVD will include footage of Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon, the hoisting of the US flag and a phone call the astronauts made to late US President JF Kennedy, who initiated the mission.

It will include images that have never been broadcast, such as the final scene on the moon, when Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin threw off their backpacks and re-entered the shuttle.

“This part appeared after 20 minutes of static, so most broadcasters stopped recording, thinking the transmission was over,” said Mike Inchalik, Lowry Digital’s chief operating officer.

Perhaps the DVDs will finally squash conspiracy theories claiming the lunar mission was a hoax and director Stanley Kubrick manufactured the footage.