NASA releases recording of ‘outer-space type music’ from far side of the moon

Updated 8:35 PM EST, Mon February 22, 2016
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Story highlights

Recordings of sounds heard on the far side of the moon have been released

Apollo 10 astronauts heard "outer-space type music" while out of contact with Earth

The eerie noises have an earthly explanation, however

CNN —  

“Did you hear that whistling sound too?”

“Sounds like – you know, outer-space type music.”

“I wonder what it is.”

This conversation, between Apollo 10 astronauts Eugene Cernan and John Young, as their craft flew around the far side of the moon, remained under wraps for over four decades.

While transcripts were released in 2008, audio of the discussion, and the sounds that the astronauts were referencing, is only just being made public.

The Apollo 10 crew discuss strange noises heard on the far side of the moon
NASA
The Apollo 10 crew discuss strange noises heard on the far side of the moon

’Weird music’

Out of radio contact with Earth and all alone on the far side of the moon, the astronauts were clearly not expecting to hear anything on their instruments.

“You hear that? That whistling sound? Whoooooo,” says Cernan on the recording.

“That sure is weird music.”

READ: Are Mars photos signs of life?

According to a new Science Channel series “NASA’s Unexplained Files,” the sounds were 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.

However, in a statement released this week by NASA, Cernan himself cast doubt on this claim.

“I don’t remember that incident exciting me enough to take it seriously. It was probably just radio interference. Had we thought it was something other than that we would have briefed everyone after the flight. We never gave it another thought,” he said.

Unexplained? Not quite

While the trailers for the Science Channel series (and accompanying media coverage) make great store of the “unexplained” nature of the sounds, the truth is likely more scientific than sci-fi.

A NASA technician on the TV show supports Cernan’s assessment that the “radios in the two spacecraft [the lunar module and the command module] were interfering with each other.”

This explanation is disputed by the ponderous TV voiceover and astronaut Al Worden, who says on the show that “logic tells me that if there was something recorded on there, then there’s something there.”

Worden’s assertion that the sounds are unexplained is not one shared by his fellow astronauts, however.