Debunked: Apollo 10 "Space Music"

Psychic

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.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry...ned-music-at-moon_us_56c80662e4b0928f5a6c0679

It was 1969... when Apollo 10 entered lunar orbit, which included traversing the far side of the moon when all spacecraft are out of radio contact with Earth for about an hour and nobody on Earth can see or hear them.... Almost four decades went by before lost recordings emerged that revealed something unsettling that the three Apollo astronauts had experienced while flying above the far side of the moon.

The taped recordings contained "strange, otherworldly music coming through the Apollo module's radio," according to the upcoming Science Channel series, "NASA's Unexplained Files."

The conversation between the three astronauts indicated they heard sounds like they had never heard before:

"It sounds like, you know, outer space-type music."

"You hear that? That whistling sound? Whooooooooo!"

"Well, that sure is weird music!"

The unexplained "music" transmission lasted almost an hour, and just before the astronauts regained radio contact with Earth, they discussed whether or not to tell Mission Control what they had experienced:

"It's unbelievable! You know?"

"Shall we tell them about it?"

"I don't know. We ought to think about it."

"The Apollo 10 crew was very used to the kind of noise that they should be hearing. Logic tells me that if there was something recorded on there, then there was something there," Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden says on the Science Channel program. "NASA would withhold information from the public if they thought it was in the public's best interest."
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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.
Micheal Collins wrote about the "music" in his book, Carrying the Fire.
"There is a strange noise in my headset now, an eerie woo-woo sound. Had I not been warned about it, it would have scared hell out of me. Stafford's Apollo 10 crew had first heard it, during their practice rendezvous around the Moon. Alone on the back side, they were more than a little surprised to hear a noise that John Young in the command module and Stafford in the LM each denied making. They gingerly mentioned it in their debriefing sessions, but fortunately the radio technicians (rather than the UFO fans) had a ready explanation for it: it was interference between the LM's and command module's VHF radios. We heard it yesterday when we turned our VHF radios on after separating the two vehicles, and Neil said that it "sounds like wind whipping around the trees." It stopped as soon as the LM got on the ground, and started up again just a short time ago. A strange noise in a strange place."
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http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?postid=11137134#post11137134

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

Mick West

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

http://history.nasa.gov/ap10fj/as10-day5-pt20.htm

102:12:17 Cernan (in Snoopy): You really have to be careful with this film, when you don't have any left. There's the one Jack marked that he wants. I'll get it for him.

102:12:43 Stafford (in Snoopy): Hey, when do we fire the helium tanks? [Garble].

102:12:47 Cernan (in Snoopy): Not yet, babe.

102:12:53 Stafford (in Snoopy): You want some more brownies?

102:12:54 Cernan (in Snoopy): No.

102:12:56 Stafford (in Snoopy): [Garble] go hungry.

102:13:02 Cernan (in Snoopy): That music even sounds outer-spacey, doesn't it? You hear that? That whistling sound?

102:13:06 Stafford (in Snoopy): Yes.

102:13:07 Cernan (in Snoopy): Whooooooooooo.

102:13:12 Young: Did you hear that whistling sound, too?

102:13:14 Cernan (in Snoopy): Yeah. Sounds like - you know, outer-space-type music.

102:13:18 Young: I wonder what it is.


102:13:20 Cernan (in Snoopy): Hey, Tom. Is your - is your insulation all burned off here, on the front side of your window over here? Right - -

102:13:27 Stafford (in Snoopy): Yeah.

102:13:29 Cernan (in Snoopy): Mine's all burned off. isn't that weird - eerie, John?

102:13:34 Young: Yes, I got it, too. I was going to see who was outside.

102:13:45 Stafford (in Snoopy): You mark that set of features, Gene-o. I'm going to fix us some grape juice. OK?

102:14:10 Young: OK man. I've got you 269 miles (498 km) over the [garble] Man, that's [garble] that's just fabulous.

...

102:17:58 Cernan (in Snoopy): Boy, that sure is weird music.

102:18:01 Young: We're going to have to find out about that. Nobody will believe us.

102:18:07 Cernan (in Snoopy): No. It's a whistling, you know, like an outer space-type thing.

102:18:10 Young: Probably due to the VHF ranging, I'd guess.

Content from External Source
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Micheal Collins wrote about the "music" in his book, Carrying the Fire.
"There is a strange noise in my headset now, an eerie woo-woo sound. Had I not been warned about it, it would have scared hell out of me. Stafford's Apollo 10 crew had first heard it, during their practice rendezvous around the Moon. Alone on the back side, they were more than a little surprised to hear a noise that John Young in the command module and Stafford in the LM each denied making. They gingerly mentioned it in their debriefing sessions, but fortunately the radio technicians (rather than the UFO fans) had a ready explanation for it: it was interference between the LM's and command module's VHF radios. We heard it yesterday when we turned our VHF radios on after separating the two vehicles, and Neil said that it "sounds like wind whipping around the trees." It stopped as soon as the LM got on the ground, and started up again just a short time ago. A strange noise in a strange place."
Content from External Source
http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?postid=11137134#post11137134

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

That debunking comes from 2009:
http://apollohoax.proboards.com/thread/2647/apollo-10-crew-heard-music
(notes that it's on page 420)

The book itself is from 1974
 

Mick West

Administrator
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.

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1977isa..conf..429N
As the Apollo program proceeded, redundancy became a requirement for all crew safety functions. One critical period of the Apollo missions was the rendezvous of the Command Module and the Lunar Module. The rendezvous radar provided the critical range, range rate, and angle measurements necessary to complete the rendezvous. Use of a redundant radar for backup was out of the question because of its 80-lb weight. It was, however, found that the voice radios could be adapted to perform the ranging function. Slight modifications of the VHF voice radios and the addition of a ranging interrogator and transponder at a weight of less than 10 lbs total would provide an accuracy of 100-ft rms at several hundred miles. The Apollo VHF ranging system demonstrated that it is feasible to achieve highly accurate range measurements with conventional voice radios.
Content from External Source
Nasa's technical note on the ranging system attached

http://history.nasa.gov/ap10fj/as10-day5-pt20.htm

102:17:58 Cernan (in Snoopy): Boy, that sure is weird music.

102:18:01 Young: We're going to have to find out about that. Nobody will believe us.

102:18:07 Cernan (in Snoopy): No. It's a whistling, you know, like an outer space-type thing.

102:18:10 Young: Probably due to the VHF ranging, I'd guess.
Content from External Source
At 7:42 in the attached audio.
 

Attachments

  • a10o-1021010.mp3
    14.7 MB · Views: 1,156
  • Apollo Experience Report - Very-High-Frequency Ranging System 19720017537.pdf
    892.9 KB · Views: 1,070
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Henk001

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:

"The Apollo 10 crew was very used to the kind of noise that they should be hearing. Logic tells me that if there was something recorded on there, then there was something there," Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden says on the Science Channel program. "NASA would withhold information from the public if they thought it was in the public's best interest."
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And:
"You don't hear about anything like that until years after the incident occurs, and then you kind of wonder, because it's such an old memory of those things that you get concerned about if they were making something up or was there something really there? Because you never really know," Worden told The Huffington Post.
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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

Administrator
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.
20160222-162358-bh6lo.jpg

Scan8001.jpg Scan8002.jpg Scan8003.jpg

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

Untitled2.jpg http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/history/mission_trans/apollo11.htm

NASA released a statement a few hours, ago.


Apollo 10 Audio — Publicly Available Since 1970s
Recent news articles have reported that “newly declassified” audiotapes reveal that Apollo 10 astronauts heard “outer-spacey” music as the spacecraft flew around the far side of the moon in 1969.

Here are the facts:

While listed as ‘confidential’ in 1969 at the height of the Space Race, Apollo 10 mission transcripts and audio have been publicly available since 1973. Since the Internet did not exist in the Apollo era, we have only recently provided digital files for some of those earlier missions. The Apollo 10 audio clips were uploaded in 2012, but the mission’s audio recordings have been available at the National Archives since the early 1970s.

As for the likely source of the sounds, Apollo 10 Lunar Module Pilot Gene Cernan told us on Monday, ‘I don’t remember that incident exciting me enough to take it seriously. It was probably just radio interference. Had we thought it was something other than that we would have briefed everyone after the flight. We never gave it another thought.’

Content from External Source
http://nasa.tumblr.com/post/139801679204/apollo-10-audio-publicly-available-since-1970s
 
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skephu

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.
 

deirdre

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. :)

CORRECTION: A previous version of this post stated that the recordings in question had been "lost" and were only recently declassified, and characterized the sound on the recordings as "unexplained." This article has been updated with NASA's statement, and accordingly throughout. Similar characterizations in the videos above, produced by the Science Channel, do not address these changes http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry...ned-music-at-moon_us_56c80662e4b0928f5a6c0679
Content from External Source
 

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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