NASA releases Apollo 10 recordings revealing astronauts report hearing weird sounds (music) on far side of moon
“They (NASA) would withhold information from the public if they felt it was in the public’s best interest.” – Al Warden, Apollo 15 Command Module Pilot
Apollo 10 orbited the moon two months before Neil Armstrong took his famous first step. During a pass on the “dark side of the moon”, the side facing away from Earth and a zone of silence for radio communications between the spacecraft and Earth, the crew were baffled by a series of mysterious sounds they heard which they described as “music”.
"Did you hear that whistling sound too?"
"Sounds like — you know, outer-space type music."
"I wonder what it is."
The encounter occurred in 1969 but transcripts of the crew’s conversations were not released until 2008 – nearly four decades later. This year, a recording of the weird howling noise heard in the crew’s headsets was released to the Science Channel for their series, NASA’s Unexplained Files. The “music” lasted almost an hour and ended just before they regained contact with Mission Control.
Apparently the crew were unaware that their conversations were recorded and archived. Below are segments of the transcription during which the crew describes the weird music and discuss whether or not they should tell NASA about it (It was so weird that the team debated whether or not to mention it to their superiors at NASA, out of fear that it could cast doubt on their suitability for future spaceflight).
LUNAR MODULE PILOT EUGENE A. CERNAN: That music even sounds outer-spacy, doesn’t it? You hear that? That whistling sound?
COMMANDER THOMAS P. STAFFORD: Yes.
LUNAR MODULE PILOT EUGENE A. CERNAN: Whooooooo.. Say your –
COMMAND MODULE PILOT JOHN W. YOUNG Did you hear that whistling sound too?
LUNAR MODULE PILOT EUGENE A. CERNAN: Yes. Sounds like – you know, outer-space-type music.
COMMAND MODULE PILOT JOHN W. YOUNG: I wonder what it is?
LUNAR MODULE PILOT EUGENE A. CERNAN: … Isn’t that weird – eerie, John?
COMMAND MODULE PILOT JOHN W. YOUNG: Yes, I got it, too … and see who was outside.
LUNAR MODULE PILOT EUGENE A. CERNAN: Boy, that sure is weird music.
COMMAND MODULE PILOT JOHN W. YOUNG: We’re going to have to find out about that. Nobody will believe us.
LUNAR MODULE PILOT EUGENE A. CERNAN: Yes. It’s a whistling, you know, like an outer-space-type thing.
COMMAND MODULE PILOT JOHN W. YOUNG: Yes.
LUNAR MODULE PILOT EUGENE A. CERNAN: Yes. I wouldn’t believe there’s anyone out there. Okay, Tom, I’m going to call up P20.
COMMANDER THOMAS P. STAFFORD: It’s weird, isn’t it?
LUNAR MODULE PILOT EUGENE A. CERNAN: Isn’t that weird?
COMMAND MODULE PILOT JOHN W. YOUNG: You guys just – are still in the darkness….
COMMANDER THOMAS P. STAFFORD: Yes, …
COMMANDER THOMAS P. STAFFORD: I mean you … What the hell was that gurgling noise?
LUNAR MODULE PILOT EUGENE A. CERNAN: I don’t know. But I’ll tell you, that eerie music is what’s bothering me. You know that –
COMMAND MODULE PILOT JOHN W. YOUNG: God damn, I heard it, too.
LUNAR MODULE PILOT EUGENE A. CERNAN: You know, that was funny. That’s just like something from outer space, really. Who’s going to believe it?
COMMAND MODULE PILOT JOHN W. YOUNG: Nobody. Shall we tell them about it?
LUNAR MODULE PILOT EUGENE A. CERNAN: I don’t know. We ought to think about it some.
COMMAND MODULE PILOT JOHN W. YOUNG: Did you hear it, Tom?
LMP Yes, he heard it.
COMMANDER THOMAS P. STAFFORD: Yes.
LUNAR MODULE PILOT EUGENE A. CERNAN: Hell, I just want to get out of this suit.
NASA has explained away the noises as interference between the two spacecraft (the lunar module and the command module). Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden disagrees:
“The Apollo 10 crew were 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.”
Regardless, in 1979, NASA’s Voyager spacecraft picked up a similar noise near Jupiter and the Cassini spacecraft recorded sounds around Saturn as well, in 2002.
According to Worden:
“We’d had a lot of incidents where guys who flew in space saw and heard things that they didn’t recognize, and you wonder about all of that. I have a very open mind about what could’ve happened. It’s somebody’s hearsay evidence — it’s only a visual or audio event, which is hard to pin down. Recollection is one thing, but actual proof is something entirely different.”
A sample of the sound they heard may be listened to in the video below.
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