High quality footage of that One Small Step

High quality footage of that One Small Step

High quality footage of that One Small Step

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
March 5 2009 6:30 AM

High quality footage of that One Small Step

Jon Donni of Bad Psychics has posted footage footage of Neil Armstrong's first step on the Moon on the site TV is Cool YouTube [Edited to add: Apparently, this video was first found by Depleted Cranium]. It comes from the 16 mm Data Acquisition Camera mounted in the lunar module. The camera had multiple settings; it was set to normal speed for this occasion, and was later set to one frame per second to save film for later footage, including Buzz and Neil setting up the American flag.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  


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I was surprised to see this as I didn't even know it existed. It gives a different perspective on some of the most famous footage in history! You can see Buzz reflected in the lander window, and even hear Houston telling him how to set camera.

The sequence of events shown is fascinating. You can hear Neil say he is opening the MESA, the Modular Equipment Storage Assembly. The movie camera that took the footage of his actual first step on the Moon was in there (some Moon Hoax twinkies love to ask who took the movie of Neil's step, never bothering to, y'know, look it up. I guess typing stuff into Google is too hard for them). It was aimed at the bottom of the ladder, so Neil would be in its field of view when he walked off the footpad.

Next, he takes a hop from the lowest rung down to the footpad. He then hops back up to the last rung, to make sure he can get back off the pad. If he had trouble, he could talk to Houston and work out what to do.

He then observes the surface, noting the dust. He tested it a bit with the toe of his boot to get a better look at it.

Then, of course, he makes the most momentous step in history, separating us from a planet-bound species to one that strides across worlds.

The Apollo Lunar Surface Journal has a QuickTime clip that has both the MESA and DAC cameras with the footage synchronized, which is fascinating to watch. You can see when he deploys the MESA, which happens at around the same time he jumps down and back up from the footpad. After that, well, you know the rest.

... and geez. Watching it made me choke up again, for real. Wow.