- 29th April 2012
At a recent family reunion I
was indulging in some nostalgic chit-chat about our childhood musical memories.
My Sister was a big Osmonds fan. She mentioned in passing, '...and there was a
tape of the Osmonds taken to the moon on Apollo 11'. My "BS filters" immediately
reached 11. I hadn't actually come across this tale before and it led me to do a
little surfing...Information regarding this is scarce but nevertheless
interesting to read....
From 'Salon magazine'...
A tape of the Osmonds and
Andy Williams doing songs from "Hair" is among the artifacts left on the
moon by Neil Armstrong in 1969. Think of it as Earth’s first line of defense.
In a Time magazine interview
with Donny Osmond...
And Donny again...
'My fantasy is: To be the
first singer on the moon. When Neil Armstrong went up, he took a tape that
had my voice on it and left it there. So, sitting on the moon is my voice.'
And from Jay Osmond's
'One of our record albums
was taken to the moon by Neil Armstrong, and when they played the song
Aquarius on the moon, it was the rendition with the Osmond Brothers singing
back-up for Andy Williams'
The University of New Mexico
gives a list of all of the items allegedly left on the lunar surface by the
Apollo 11 astronauts. Guess what?.. The Osmonds tape isn't listed.
Maybe it got wedged or
mangled in the Eagles' tape player? It gets
quite warm on the lunar surface. Hotter still inside the lunar module without
the air-con on...
At the lunar equator,
mean surface temperatures reach almost 400K (260.6 ºF) at noon and then drop
to below 100K (-279.4 ºF) during the night.
But audio tape is quite
As is the case with any
collection, proper storage is extremely important. The general environment,
including temperature and relative humidity is key. The proper levels vary
depending on how long the materials need to be stored. The Library of
 recommends that any tapes needing preservation for a minimum of 10
years should be stored between 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit at
humidity (RH). Large fluctuations in either of these factors should be
avoided at all costs. If the tapes need permanent preservation, they should
be stored at 46-50 degrees Fahrenheit at 20-30% relative humidity. In the
case of magnetic tapes, contrary to traditional preservation storage rules
for books and photographic film, colder is certainly not better. If the
collections are stored below 46 degrees F, the tape lubricant can
separate from the base, ruining the recording. The most important thing is
to keep conditions consistent once desirable conditions are achieved.
Oh dear! That tape isn't
going to sound too good anymore is it?! Its a good job that the photographic
film used by the astronauts was more stable!! It was... wasn't it? And in any
case, the people at Clavius reckon that it can't get hot on the moon because
there's no atmosphere to act as a transfer medium...
So, by the same token,
nothing in space gets hot, right?...
Without thermal controls,
the temperature of the orbiting Space Station's Sun-facing side would soar
to 250 degrees F (121 C), while thermometers on the dark side would plunge
to minus 250 degrees F (-157 C).
Oh, O.K... And then there's
the gamma and x-rays on the moonward side of the Van Allen Belts...
"The energy spectrum of the lunar gamma radiation are consistent with a
model of gamma ray production by cosmic ray interactions with the lunar
surface, and the flux varies as expected with the solar cycle. Thus, in
high-energy gamma rays, the Moon is brighter than the quiet Sun."
Those key words of "Moon is brighter than the quiet Sun" means the surface
environment of our physically dark moon is in fact capable of being far
worse off in gamma dosage than walking on our sun. Basically, there's
considerably greater mass per cm3 or per m3 that's available to interact
with, as in more so than whatever those Van Allen belts can possibly
represent. Instead of our moon producing various harmless secondary/recoil
dosage of even the likes of soft-X-rays, as being the case of what the
relative micro density of those Van Allen belts represent, it's instead
generating gamma and unavoidably the secondary/recoil worth of hard-X-rays
that get produced by way of the fundamental interaction of cosmic and solar
energy as such unavoidably reacts with the rather considerable and obviously
naked density of the lunar surface, that's basically a composite of
sufficiently heavy elements that represents itself as the cosmic and solar
anti-cathode motherload of producing lethal radiation. At minimums, and
especially by day, we're looking at several hundred rads per hour (with
unavoidable peaks of thousands of rads per hour), that which any damn fool
of human DNA that's taking a moonsuit walk upon that nasty surface will have
to deal with such consequences, and/or soon thereafter must die rather
horrifically from the inside out.
But of course a Hasselblad
would behave differently I suppose. Or an Osmonds tape. In that case why don't
NASA design their spacecraft in conjunction with Hasselblad and fly to the moon
again? Oh dear. I'm confused.
Another thought just occurred
to me. In the awful film Apollo 13, they show the spacecraft getting
increasingly cold on their supposed return journey from the moon. Assuming that
the astronauts could even have made it this far without being cooked by the
radiation, shouldn't the interior of the craft be hot?
A Fragile Lifeboat
The Apollo 13 countdown
proceeded without a major incident, and liftoff came at 2:13 p.m. on 11
April. When the S-II stage's center engine shut down 132 seconds early, an
extra 34-second burn from each of the four outboard engines made up most of
the difference. An additional nine-second burn of the S-IVB stage brought
the vehicle to within 0.4 meters/second of the planned velocity and left
sufficient fuel to boost the space vehicle out of the earth's gravitational
from the S-II problem, the first two days of the mission went according to
plan. The crew started the third day in space by inspecting the lunar
module. Lovell and Haise read a supercritical helium pressure well under the
danger line. Fifty-five hours into the mission the crew began a television
transmission from the command module, Odyssey. Fred Haise demonstrated
movement through the tunnel into the lunar module, Aquarius, and remarked:
"There's a little bit of an orientation change that, even though I'd been
through it once, in the water tank, is still pretty unusual. I find myself
now standing with my head on the floor, when I get down into the LM." For
the next half hour the crew described their temporary quarters in a space
version of "Person to Person." The television interview ended on a light
note as Lovell showed off a floating tape recorder. Musical
selections included "Aquarius" from "Hair" and the theme from "2001, A Space
For more information on
"Apollo Lunacy" please see this