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Listen to Apollo 11 Conversations the Earth Didn’t Hear

Buzz Aldrin during the Apollo 11 mission. Credit: NASA

Buzz Aldrin during the Apollo 11 mission. Credit: NASA


The whole world watched as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended to the surface of the Moon. Everyone listened intently to every word said between the Eagle lander and mission control. But what did Neil and Buzz say to each other when the microphone was off? Now you can find out. NASA has made the onboard audio tapes available online, so everyone can listen in the what happened inside the spacecraft. These are not necessarily major milestones of the mission but are some of the more interesting and clearly recorded conversations the crew members had among themselves as the mission progressed.

For example, here’s one exchange between Armstrong and Aldrin:

“I would appreciate if you could … see if you could … find the map …”

“Trade you that for a piece of gum. There it is.”

Find the Apollo 11 audio highlights here.

And here’s the Apollo 11 onboard voice transcription.

All of the Apollo spacecraft included onboard voice recorders, activated during much of each mission to record the crew’s conversations. The transcripts of those recordings were publicly released in the mid-1970s and they have been posted on the Internet for years. But only recently were the actual onboard recordings from Apollo 11 digitized so that the recordings could be made available on the Internet.

The Apollo 11 Onboard Audio Tape Database cross references the tape numbers to the Mission Elapsed Time (MET) that was on each tape. The database includes a description of the mission status at that time. It is best to listen to the tapes while simultaneously viewing the same mission elapsed time on the transcript, since often the recordings are faint.

Source: NASA

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

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