The Apollo 10 mission is begging questions of NASA with the astronauts from the mission claiming that they heard a bit of music as they orbited the dark side of the moon.
Moon landing – Recently released NASA audio asks questions
The Apollo 10 mission was effectively a precursor to the first moon landing. Newly declassified audio recordings have made it to the ridiculous show on the Science channel called NASA’s Unexplained Files.
NASA’s Unexplained Files is a truly ridiculous show; it does, however, merit a watch given the mysteries that space offers. While scientists, astronomers, engineers, and people considerably smarter than I unravel the mysteries of the universe on a consistent basis, they often produce as many questions as they do answers.
While transcripts of the astronauts’ mission that paved the way to first men on the moon later in 1969 were released nearly 10 years ago, the recording has only recently become public.
Astronauts Gene Cernan, John Young, and Thomas Stafford comprised the astronauts’ side of Apollo 10 and they were each properly surprised by the “music” they heard as they came within 5,000 feet of the moon’s surface in their orbit.
One of these gentlemen, and space pioneers can be heard saying “It sounds like, you know, outer space-type music.” Their 8-day mission preceded the Apollo 11 mission by two months.
But they heard music
It’s believed that it was Gene Cernan going on record as saying he was hearing music. The three were hesitant to tell NASA of what they “heard” as each wished to continue their career as an astronaut and they were concerned that they might be drummed out of the program if they were deemed “delusional.”
Cernan, while not holding his tongue, later earned the title of “last man on the moon” during the final Apollo mission, 17, in 1972.
The Apollo 10 mission got so close to the moon that it also was responsible for the first color photos of the lunar surface.
The “music” the men heard was likely no more than radio interference caused by the proximity of redundant radios in their tiny capsule. While out of radio contact with NASA as their orbit took them to the dark side of the moon, the moon without an atmosphere or magnetic field would make any transmissions of its own impossible.
Discussing the sounds that each heard is a bit of a fun listen. “Boy, that sure is weird music,” lunar module (Snoopy) pilot Cernan says at one point in the recordings.. “We’re going to have to find out about that,” command module (Charlie Brown) pilot John Young said in response.
This wasn’t the last time that space started “singing” or “talking” to astronauts. NASA points out that the Cassini spacecraft was flooded with music from radio interference when it neared Saturn due to charged particles between its radios.
During the Apollo 10 mission, the three were proper space pirates. They were going “where no man had gone before” and their hesitancy to share what they heard makes a tremendous amount of sense. During the “right stuff” era of NASA, astronauts were typically adhering to the policy of “lie to fly.” That policy dictated that all astronauts would be immediately rubbished out of the program and their dreams if any sign of stress was witnessed.
While a truly silly show, the noises that these astronauts heard make for a good story.