Who Videoed Neil Armstrong on the Moon?
A video posted on social media suggests that the Apollo moon landings were faked. The video shows scenes from a movie set, not footage of astronauts on the real moon.
On July 20th, 1969, Neil Armstrong made the first steps on the lunar surface. He was soon joined by Buzz Aldrin.
During his career, Armstrong served as an engineer, test pilot and astronaut for NASA and its predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. He earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Purdue University after receiving a Navy scholarship. He was a test pilot on 200 different aircraft, flying many high-speed vehicles, including the needle-nosed X-15.
On July 20, 1969, millions of people tuned in to watch as the shy pilot from Ohio climbed down the ladder of the Lunar Module and took his first steps on the moon. It was a historic moment that will be remembered for generations to come.
But how did this iconic moment get filmed? Let’s take a look at the history of the camera used to capture Armstrong’s famous first steps on the moon. You might be surprised to find out that NASA didn’t rely on one single camera. In fact, they used two cameras to record the landing.
Edwin Eugene “Buzz” Aldrin was the second man to walk on the moon. He stepped onto the lunar surface nineteen minutes after Neil Armstrong as part of the Apollo 11 mission.
A graduate of the United States Military Academy, Aldrin served in the Air Force during the Korean War and then studied Astronautics, the science of space travel and exploration. He was selected as an astronaut in 1963.
He was assigned to Apollo 11, and his responsibilities included monitoring the lunar module systems while commander Neil Armstrong concentrated on landing. Aldrin and Armstrong later set up science experiments and gathered rock samples.
After the mission, Aldrin became a tireless advocate for human spaceflight. He is the author of nine books, including his New York Times and Washington Post bestsellers, “No Dream Is Too High” and “Edge of Tomorrow”. Aldrin is also a founding member of the new Supreme Allied Power in Space think tank and a regular guest at NASA centers around the world.
The Westinghouse Camera
It took years of planning and grueling training for the astronauts to take that famous first step. But they also had to prepare the equipment that would send that moment back to Earth. A post on the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum website explains how that was done.
Westinghouse developed a black-and-white television camera to record the landing. Engineer Stan Lebar says it used a secondary electron conduction tube that was designed to get detailed images from what might be a dark lunar surface. The camera was stored in the LM’s Modular Equipment Stowage Assembly (MESA) near the ladder Armstrong climbed down.
When he pulled a handle to activate it, the camera began transmitting those historic images of him descending that ladder and planting his foot on the lunar surface. It’s one of the most famous moments in history. And there’s no evidence that it was faked. In fact, the original camera is still on the moon today.
The Maurer Camera
At the Museum we have a Maurer data acquisition camera that was part of the Apollo 11 Command Module “Columbia” and the Lunar Module “Eagle”. This camera was designed to record engineering data and to perform continuous-sequence terrain photography. It was equipped with a sighting ring to increase aiming accuracy and special glass to reduce interference from light rays.
On July 20, 1969, Armstrong and Aldrin separated from the command module “Columbia” to enter the lunar module “Eagle.” A live television camera on the lunar surface recorded their steps as they climbed down the ladder. The signal was transmitted to Mission Control in Houston and to TV viewers around the world.
Those TV cameras were made by William Kaysing, an engineer who worked at Rocketdyne. Kaysing had a deep love of space and the goal of putting a man on the moon. He believed that the goal was not just something on a Cold War to-do list, but that it was an essential step toward understanding our place in the universe.