NASA releases clearest videos yet of 1969 moonwalk

NASA hired a digital restoration firm to improve video showing astronauts taking first steps on the moon.
NASA released newly restored videos Thursday of two U.S. astronauts taking the world’s first steps on the moon.

The images were released just four days before the 40th anniversary of the historic event that captivated the world on July 20, 1969. Astronaut Neil Armstrong, now 78, was the first to venture onto the moon’s surface after the lunar module Eagle landed on the so-called Sea of Tranquility. Following him was Buzz Aldrin, now 79. The videos are far superior to the initial dark, fuzzy images people watched on their television sets at the time, although they are far from crisp. A NASA official has said that the original tapes of images sent back to Earth by Apollo 11 have been lost, and the camera that shot them was left on the moon. Watch a clearer view of “one small step for man” ยป Given that, NASA opted to look at all versions of the tapes that had been broadcast and enhance those images. NASA hired a digital restoration firm to make the improvements. The images on the NASA Web site include a two-minute video montage with highlights of the moonwalk and separate videos of Armstrong and Aldrin descending a ladder to the moon’s dusty surface, each of which compares existing footage with partially restored videos. Another comparison video shows Armstrong reading a commemorative plaque on the lunar module, which says in part: “Here men from the planet Earth first stepped upon the moon – July 1969.”

The montage video shows highlights from the Apollo 11 mission, from the launch in Florida to the spacecraft’s departure from the moon. The videos can be seen at