After addressing Earth, the American astronaut set up a package of scientific instruments, including a dust detector designed by an Australian physicist. The data collected by the detector was sent back to ground stations on Earth and recorded on magnetic tapes – copies of which are as rare as the ‘misplaced’ original video footage of the 1969 touchdown.
Last week, up to 100 tapes, clearly marked “NASA Manned Space Center”, turned up after a search in a dusty basement of a physics lecture hall at Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Western Australia. One of the old tapes has been sent to the American space agency to see whether it can be deciphered and ‘stripped’ of any important data which may have survived the ravages of time.
The data are a daily record of the environmental conditions and changes taking place at the lunar site after the Eagle landed safely in the Sea of Tranquility. The most important data were collected after the lunar module blasted off the surface later that day, leaving the still-running instrumentation behind.
The information showed that scientific instruments could be affected by setting them up around landing or take-off sites. They also proved that NASA did go to the Moon. – more
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