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Mon, Aug 21, 2006

Film May Unlock Mystery Of Missing Apollo Videos

Footage Was To Be Used On Pink Floyd Special

Could a never-completed Pink Floyd video hold the answer to the missing moon tape mystery currently plaguing NASA?

As Aero-News reported last week, NASA workers and their affiliates around the world have been quietly looking for hi-resolution films from the Apollo moon landings more than 30 years ago. To date, what we've seen on television were pictures taken by cameras shooting a video monitor... if you will, pictures of grainy pictures. But the original hi-res videos are still out there... somewhere... lost in the maze of government storage facilities.

What's more, time is running out. Those magnetic tapes degrade over time and the playback equipment used to display their images is about to be mothballed. So NASA has launched a formal investigation... and perhaps a key in that probe rests with Australian music video producer Peter Clifton.

Here's where the story gets even stranger than it has been so far. Back in 1979, Clifton was working on a Pink Floyd video... to go along with the smash-album "Dark Side of the Moon." He wanted some footage of Neil Armstrong's first step on the moon... so he sent away $180 and got back a half-hour reel of 16-millimeter film from the Smithsonian.

"I had this idea that I could take segments out of Dark Side of the Moon and make them into a TV special," said Mr Clifton to Australia's The Age. "On a visit to Washington, I went to Smithsonian and asked if they had any shots of rocket ships travelling. He said, 'well, we can give you highlights of the moon shot.'

Clifton never finished the Pink Floyd video... and the film sat in his vault for years.

"I didn't think another thing about it until a few nights ago when I was watching television and it came on the news," said Clifton. "And I thought 'I have got that stuff'."

It turns out Clifton has a copy of only a small fraction of the missing footage... but the fact that he got it from the Smithsonian has put investigators on the trail.

Clifton is again going through his vault to find the original canister in which the film arrived... hoping information under the NASA logo will help investigators track down up to 700 missing tapes... before it's too late.

FMI: www.nasa.gov

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