That mysterious “weird music” that the Apollo 10 astronauts said they heard while orbiting the moon in 1969 and social media has gone crazy over in the last few days? Turns out, NASA figured out what it was rather quickly and warned missions that followed Apollo 10 about the strange, disconcerting sounds.
According to a Space.com report February 22, the “whistling sound” and “weird outer-space music” heard by the Apollo 10 astronauts as they circled the moon on its far side — where tracking and radio communications were lost for about an hour — was a phenomenon already known to NASA, which is most likely why the general public never heard about the odd noises that intrigued the three men making a dry run for the lunar landing that would come just a few months later. However, with new exposure via the Science Channel’s “NASA’s Unexplained Files,” the audiotapes of the Apollo 10 mission seemed to highlight a mystery that really does not exist.
As Space.com explains, NASA told subsequent Apollo missions about the whistling noise they would hear on the far side of the moon. The weird howling noise, the space agency noted, was produced by interference between the VHF radios on the two different space vehicles.
But to the initiated, the strange sounds were somewhat unnerving. As Apollo 10 astronaut Gene Cernan, who piloted the lunar module, described it, the “music” was “outer-spacey.”
John Young, piloting the command module, says later, “We’re going to have to find out about that. Nobody will believe us.”
But NASA technicians warned the astronauts that came later. In fact, when Apollo 11 was launched just five months later, the three men about to make the world’s first moon landing knew what to expect.
Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins wrote in his 1974 book, “Carrying the Fire,” about the warning. In it, he wrote: “Had I not been warned about it, it would have scared the hell out of me.”
Although the “NASA’s Unexplained Files” used the declassified audiotapes for dramatic effect, edited just so and with sound effects and actual weird music, the eeriness and uncertainty of the Apollo 10 incident was not an enduring mystery that lingers on to the present. It is doubtful it lasted long enough for the three Apollo 10 astronauts to finish describing the “weird music” during their debriefing once back on Earth.
As Discovery News reported after the show aired, some have tried to maintain that NASA and the federal government has tried to keep the details secret for years. Conspiracy theorists even go so far as to say the audiotapes point to proof of aliens and UFOs and a government cover-up. But, as NASA has stated on tumblr, the audio files have been available for public scrutiny since the 1970s.