Thursday, April 12, 2012

What Was NASA's UFO Footage From the Apollo 16 Mission?

'UFO footage' from the Apollo 16 space mission led many to believe that alien life forms were tracking man's early attempts to reach the stars. After its safe return to Earth, a supposed 'flying anomaly' was noticed on some of the crew's video footage during the time they spent in the Moon's orbit. This UFO footage sparked something of a debate and was analysed in great detail by the best minds NASA had at the time.

The Apollo 16 crew captured about four seconds of UFO footage between their return from the moon to splashdown on April 27, 1972. The astronauts seemed to have captured video evidence of something that looked very much like the Hollywood version of an alien craft from beyond Earth or even our own Solar System. The astronauts described the anomaly as a 'saucer-shaped object with a dome on the top' and the 16mm video camera captured the UFO pretty clearly at 12fps. As the craft leaves the orbit of the Moon, the anomaly appears momentarily but disappears from view as the camera pans out. When the camera pans back, it reappears in the shot.

Looking at high-resolution, freeze-frame shots of footage, its possible to see an object on the outside of the Apollo 16 landing module/orbiter and also its position relative to the craft and the moon. Reflections of the craft are also visible in the windows of the module/orbiter. This left a question on many people's minds and NASA put their best minds to the test in order to analyse the footage and figure out what, if anything, this anomaly was. However, the question of the object's nature and origin was only put to bed recently when Gregory Byrne of Johnson Space Center's Image Science and Analysis Group finished their investigation in 2004.

The video was taken apart into its individual 50 frames. It was then stabilized to correct for camera movement and multiple frames were aligned in a sequence. This process gave the investigation team a higher resolution and greater contrast to work with than individual frames. Only when the images of the UFO footage had been pieced together in this way did it become clear that the object was connected to a long straight pole (a 'linear feature' as described by NASA).

The team reviewed archive footage from other NASA missions and discovered that the UFO footage was no more than the spacewalk floodlight and boom assembly. Both a high-quality digital copy and indeed the original frames from the UFO footage confirm that there is no evidence to suggest the anomaly was anything else. The movement of the anomaly, relative to the moon was explained by slight camera motions and the closeness of the boom/light to the camera itself.

Next time you see some UFO footage, question it from every angle before you proclaim it as evidence of aliens. The Apollo 16 mission left NASA scratching its head for years but the conclusion was that UFO footage is not necessarily of an alien craft and some supposed UFOs aren't really UFOs at all!

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