The video images of the Apollo flights that made it to live public television were of degraded quality. While the engineers noticed it at the time they saw the public didn’t care initially. They then assumed picking up the better quality original raw data that was succesfully stored in Australia, before it got badly relayed to the US. With the recent Moon plans coming up and dying worksmen of the time looking up the tapes, the originals now seem to have gone missing.
Some of his sources recalled sending 14-inch magnetic reels to a storage area in a building called Goddard Corporate Park. Wood soon discovered that storage facility had been closed for years. “Nearly all the stuff that was there was destroyed,” he says. Then he hesitates. “I need to be careful here. Would you cross out the word destroyed?” It was also possible that the tapes were “degaussed” – erased so they could be used again, a fairly standard practice at the time. In short, no one knows what became of these priceless minutes of historic footage.
While the search hasn’t stopped yet, the current status isn’t good. Read the longer story at Wired’s One Giant Screwup for Mankind.