Debunked: Apollo 10 "Space Music"

Santa's sidekick

Senior Member
Update: This was explained many years ago, and was simply interference between the Lunar Module's and command module's VHF radios creating a strange whistling sound.

To briefly summarize the article: it seems that astronauts aboard Apollo 10 heard strange theremin-style noises which they were recorded referring to as 'Outer-space-type music' while blocked from Earth's radio transmissions by the Moon. The writer heavily implies that extraterrestrial radio transmissions are the best explanation.

The Huffington Post is not above insinuating that extraterrestrial radio transmissions are the likeliest explanation.... But what do members here make of this? What could the noises have been?
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M Bornong

Senior Member.

Does anybody have a copy of the book to confirm this?

Mick West

Staff member
Here's the full transcript from NASA, with a bit of surrounding context. This
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Mick West

Staff member

Does anybody have a copy of the book to confirm this?

That debunking comes from 2009:
(notes that it's on page 420)

The book itself is from 1974

Mick West

Staff member
Note that Astonaut Young suggests a source of the "music" as the VHF ranging. The VHF radios were dual use: for voice, and for measuring distance (ranging) - between the Command Module and the Lunar Module.
Nasa's technical note on the ranging system attached
At 7:42 in the attached audio.


  • a10o-1021010.mp3
    14.7 MB · Views: 912
  • Apollo Experience Report - Very-High-Frequency Ranging System 19720017537.pdf
    892.9 KB · Views: 784
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Senior Member.
So the apollo 11 crew knew what to expect and actually heard about the same noise. The radio technicians had an explanation for it. Now in the Huffington post apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden, when asked about this, seems to have been unaware of it:
I wonder why the apollo 15 crew apparently did not know of this sound and its explanation. Had the technicians fixed it in the mean time?

Mick West

Staff member
I wonder why the apollo 15 crew apparently did not know of this sound and its explanation. Had the technicians fixed it in the mean time?

If it was due to the ranging system (a dual use for the voice radio to measure distance), perhaps they used a different ranging system later.

M Bornong

Senior Member.
I found a copy of Michael Collins' book at the library. In this edition the quote is on page 413.

Scan8001.jpg Scan8002.jpg Scan8003.jpg

The corresponding conversation can be found on Day 5 page 171 of the Apollo 11 transcripts.


NASA released a statement a few hours, ago.
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Senior Member.
Here's the Science Channel program about this:

It says Al Worden doesn't agree with the radio theory.
Where does he say he doesn't agree with with the radio theory? The only specific mention he makes of radio is being out of radio contact with Earth. The rest of it is disjointed edits of responses to questions we haven't heard.

The noise is caused by interference in the communications between the LM & CSM, and while Al Worden may not have heard of the explanation everyone else involved is happy that it was the VHF ranging system that was being employed.


Senior Member.
It says Al Worden doesn't agree with the radio theory.
Science channel. typical hype for ratings it sounds like to me. The narrator with his oh so deep, 'alarming' voice. :)


M Bornong

Senior Member.
I'd like to know if the producers or writers of the show even attempted to speak, to Cernan, Stafford, or Young?

Spectrar Ghost

Senior Member.
I'd like to know if the producers or writers of the show even attempted to speak, to Cernan, Stafford, or Young?

I doubt it. It's easier to edit for alternate theories with secondhand accounts. Firsthand witnesses can say "it was this". Others are more likely to give a range of explanations.

I've come to hate Discovery Networks.
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