NASA has just released 19,000 hours of forgotten audio from the Apollo 11 mission



It was July 1969 when Neil Armstrong's boot landed for the first time on the rocky surface of the moon.

"A small step for humans," explained Armstrong. "One gigantic leap for humanity".

The crackling message, which traveled from the lunar surface all the way back to ground control in Houston, is one of the most famous and most traveled quotes of all time.

It is also just the tip of the iceberg.

NASA and the University of Texas at Dallas have now released 19,000 hours of additional admissions between ground control and astronauts aboard the historic Apollo 11 mission.

Although nothing can completely beat Armstrong's powerful meaning, the huge audio archive offers listeners a chance to travel through both space and time.

The hours and hours of audio include all communication between the astronauts, mission control and support staff in the back-room during the entire mission.

Looking through the clips, the story that emerges is less about the astronauts on board and more about the heroes behind the heroes – the teamwork, the cooperation and the camaraderie that brought three astronauts back and forth.

"The real story is the side of checking things," Ben Feist, a software engineer who helps organize and process the audio, told NBC.

"How did they do it, how did they send everyone to the moon?"

The performance was not easy and success was never assured. The main control room of Apollo, located in the Johnson Space Center in Houston, had only 20 computer consoles, and these were computers that are far less powerful than the smartphones we use today.

While NASA & # 39; s new communication system had worked on simpler missions, the Apollo 11 mission went further than ever before. The fact that mission management could communicate with the astronauts at all was a huge achievement.

Although, as with most new technology, there were a few hiccups.

Just before the vessel landed on the moon, the missionary control began to struggle with spotty radar data and communication. If it got worse, the mission would have to be canceled.

Then the main alarm sounded in the cabin. A tense moment of exchange followed.

"Programming alarm", Armstrong warns in the new available audio. "It's a 1202".

"1202," Buzz Aldrin confirms.

"1202? What's that?" asks an unknown voice when checking the mission.

"It is executive overflow", another responds, confirming that the computers are overwhelmed by tasks.

"If it does not happen again, things are going well".

With every second of crackling silence, the spacecraft moved closer to the moon and the astronauts waited for the all-clear – the enlightening message that everything will be alright.

None of those on board had ever experienced this mistake.

"Give us a lecture about the alarm of the 1202 program," says Armstrong.

Finally the answer comes: "Roger, we have you, we are going to alarm".

Not every moment recorded on these tapes is so dramatic. For example, there is audio about mission control that reads the news of the earth, including an update on an oatmeal-eating competition.

"I would like to introduce Aldrin in the oatmeal-eating game," says astronaut Michael Collins, the third member of the crew, who stayed in the orbit around the moon while Aldrin and Armstrong landed on the satellite.

"He is on his 19th scale".

An airy segment of the return of the Apollo mission to the earth reveals how close the astronauts had become to lifeless technology on board.

"That old service module has taken good care of us, we want to take good care of it," says Collins.

& # 39; That's for sure, or not sometimes? & # 39; replies mission control.

"It has been a champion," says Collins.

And when the mission almost ended, it started to brighten up even more. Another clip contains mission steering that makes jokes about the drunken celebrations that will undoubtedly follow the return of the astronaut to earth.

"You throw a contest in that Clear Lake area, and it will explode," says an unknown voice.

The intimate and illuminating nature of these archives could not be experienced without the hard work of researchers at the University of Texas. They were the first to strip off more than 200 analogue tapes that had been stored by NASA for decades.

By the time these researchers got the audio, these bands were so old-fashioned that they could only be played on a SoundScriber – an old device used in the 1960s and still in the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston.

But this technology was notoriously slow, and if the researchers had done it all by hand, it would have taken at least 170 years to digitize all the audio.

"We could not use that system, so we had to design a new system," Hansen said, according to the UT Dallas blog.

"We designed our own 30-track readhead and built a parallel solution to capture all 30 tracks at once, which is the only solution on earth."

The audio can now be listened to on the archive page of NASA or on the website of UT Dallas.


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