NASA declassifies Apollo 10 space music in 1973

NASA recently released evidence buried for decades showing that astronauts on the Apollo 10 lunar mission in 1969 heard strange "space music" that seemingly defies explanation – or did it ... and does it? Many news services have picked up on the story and claim that the "space music" incident is only now being made public, but NASA disagrees. According to the space agency, the audio and transcripts from the mission have been available in the National Archives since 1973 and the explanation of the event is quite down to Earth.

The Science Channel's speculative program NASA's Unexplained Files recently aired a story claiming that when the Apollo mission was on the far side of the Moon and out of radio contact with Earth, the crew heard weird electronic sounds that were described by Lunar Module Pilot Eugene Cernan as "outer-space-type music." The narration of the segment puts a lot of emphasis on the "out of contact" angle – hinting that "something" exciting and exotic might have been behind the strange sound. Aliens, perhaps?

The segment then goes on to claim that the information was only released in 2008, implying that the evidence of the incident was suppressed by the US government for decades, and that the astronauts themselves feared to talk about the incident. These assertions were subsequently picked up and repeated by many major news services.

However, NASA disagrees with the Science Channel's account and in a statement released today says that though the tape recordings and transcripts of astronaut conversations were marked Classified in 1969 as a matter of standard security, the audio and transcripts were made public in 1973 and deposited in the National Archives. The agency also says that, though the incident was well known in radio and space circles, the only new releases regarding the "space music" incident have been digital files that can be streamed over the internet.