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Moon History Erased!

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How important do you regard history? Are some events innately more important than others? How would you rate Apollo 11, which landed on the Moon on July 20, 1969? Forty years ago, Neil Armstrong stepped from the lunar module and uttered the words, "This is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

Apparently someone at NASA didn't see the moment as especially important, or at least not important enough to save the original video footage of the live transmission. Officials at the space agency discovered roughly three years ago that the tapes had been erased and reused for other missions at some point during the 1970s or 1980s. It was an embarrassing and mind-boggling realization. How could such a momentous event in history be lost to the world, particularly when so many other artifacts were saved? Many scientists and historians were aghast at the news, even when four copies were finally procured from around the world.

Hollywood has come to the rescue. As the four copies had badly degraded over the years, the footage appeared even fuzzier and grainier than the original transmissions. Although not yet finished, the shots of Armstrong, Aldrin, and the other men will be cleaned and sharpened, bringing out details. No footage will be manufactured during the process, as historical accuracy and importance are receiving attention.

Only 40% of the work has been completed in what is anticipated to be a months' long project. Yet NASA has proudly trotted out some of the footage, just in time for the 40th anniversary of the historical occasion.


Preview some of the lesson material:

Warm Up: Do you agree or disagree? Why?

  1. History isn't so important.
  2. The future is more important than the past.
  3. Some historical events should be remembered and studied.
  4. Apollo 11, the mission which first landed on the Moon, should be remembered and studied.
  5. I love history!

True or False?: Guess (before the article) or answer (after the article) whether the sentence is true or false. If false, correct the sentence.

  1. Someone at NASA didn't think the Apollo 11 mission was important.
  2. NASA discovered the mistake in the 1980s.
  3. Historians and scientists weren't so surprised.
  4. Some footage will be manufactured, but historical accuracy will receive attention.
  5. The tapes have just been finished for the 30th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission.

post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!

  1. What do you think about history? Is it important or a waste of time? Why?
  2. Are some historical events more important than others? Why/not?
  3. Were you surprised that the video footage was erased? Why/not?
  4. What are some other momentous occasions in history? Do we have footage of these events?
  5. Will humankind ever return to the Moon? Should we? Why/not?

Google Search: Type "Apollo 11" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.


Download the lesson: