The peculiar incident, which took place approximately two months before Apollo 11’s historic moon landing, had come as such a surprise to the Apollo 10 astronauts that they had actually debated over whether or not they should even report what they had experienced back to NASA at all.
Described as “strange, otherworldly music coming through the Apollo module’s radio,” the anomalous audio is understood to have been picked up during the spacecraft’s traversal of the moon’s dark side where all radio and visual contact with the Earth is lost for up to an hour.
“It sounds like, you know, outer space-type music,” one of the astronauts had said. “You hear that ? That whistling sound ? Whooooooooo ! Well, that sure is weird music !”
The mysterious case, which had remained locked away in NASA’s archives until relatively recently, is the subject of an upcoming Science Channel TV series entitled ‘NASA’s Unexplained Files.”
“The Apollo 10 crew was very used to the kind of noise that they should be hearing,” said astronaut Al Worden who had himself flown to the moon as part of the Apollo 15 mission in 1971.
“Logic tells me that if there was something recorded on there, then there was something there.”
“If you’re behind the moon and hear some weird noise on your radio, and you know you’re blocked from the Earth, then what could you possibly think ?”
The May 1969 tapes were recorded while Stafford, Young and Cernan were on the far side of the moon, out of radio communication with Earth. The whistling sound lasted nearly the entire hour the astronauts were out of touch. Later, the recordings were sent back to Mission Control where they were transcribed, archived and classified, per protocol.
The conversation was eventually unearthed in 2008.
“The Apollo 10 crew is very used to the kind of noise that they should be hearing,” Apollo 15 Command Module Pilot Al Worden said in a clip from the episode. “Logic tells me that if there was something recorded on there, then there was something there.”