NASA and the race to the moon have long been one of the prime targets for conspiracy theorists and the Apollo 10 mission is no exception.
The Apollo 10 mission was pretty much a practice run of the later Apollo 11 mission that would land on the moon and secure victory for the Americans in the space race (well sort of but not really, but that’s a topic for another article).
During this mission, the astronauts on board, Tom Stafford, John Young and Eugene Cernan, were heard on recordings talking about eerie ‘space music’ while whizzing around the far side of the moon. Naturally of course, the first thing everyone thinks of is that ‘they were picking up on alien music broadcasts that are normally blocked by the moons gravity so they could only hear it when they were round the dark side’ and of course, for a long time, many a conspiracy theorist thought this was true.
As with all of these mad theories, they always seem to miss the plethora of contrary evidence that is pretty much right under their noses. For example, sound doesn’t travel through space, so even if an alien was floating right outside the capsule rocking away on a space guitar, the Apollo 10 astronauts would be none the wiser unless they looked out the window.
In fact, the sound originated from inside the capsule and most likely from their headsets as some kind of malfunction with the radio systems. The fact that it was perceived as music by the astronauts is due to a psychological phenomenon called ‘priming’.
It is pretty complicated when you look into it in depth but is essentially to do with your brain filling in the blanks when you are deprived of certain stimuli or exposed to ones you have never encountered before. It is the same phenomenon that leads you to believe that that sound you just heard from downstairs in the middle of the night was a burglar’s footstep. I would encourage everyone to look into priming even if you aren’t big on psychology because it’s such an interesting way to look at how easily fooled your brain can be without you even realising.
Believe it or not, this information has been floating about since the 1970s when NASA publicly released the recordings to the National Archives so why is it the topic of this article?
Because this interesting but ultimately old-news topic is going to be part of an upcoming Science Channel program called ‘NASA’s unexplained files’ which will look into the musical experience of Apollo 10 as well as other NASA missions and projects which have been typical favorites of conspiracy theorists and click-baiters alike, and aims to dispel some of the myths and legends surrounding them.
I also thought this topic would be pertinent to follow my recent venture onto the broadcasting side of Queens Radio when I was a guest on Alternative Airwaves chatting to Chantelle our lovely Deputy Station Manager about ‘My life in Songs’ this Monday, and with a bit of arm twisting, I may or may not have been convinced to starting a show of my own…
Possibly involving science, possibly involving space, possibly involving music, so Watch This Space! 😉
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