A Russian official has called for an international probe into the “murky details” of the U.S. Apollo program moon landings after the original footage from 1969 Apollo 11 mission moon landing went missing, saying that an international investigation is needed to shed light on what actually happened during the Apollo missions of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
In an opinion piece published in the Russian language newspaper Izvestia Tuesday, Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the Russian government’s Investigative Committee, called for an inquiry into the circumstances of the missing original footage from the 1969 Apollo 11 mission moon landing and 400 kilograms of lunar rock that went missing, implying that an investigation was needed to clarify questions about the moon landings.
He made the call despite the fact that a NASA video engineer, Richard Nafzger, had admitted in 2009 that the original high resolution footage of the first moonwalk by U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong was accidentally erased in the 1980s.
Nafzger concluded after a four-year search through NASA’s extensive archives for lost tapes of the Apollo 11 mission that the footage was accidentally erased when technicians were trying to create space to store vital electronic data obtained from satellites.
“The inescapable conclusion is that the recordings are no longer. I don’t think anyone in the NASA organization did anything wrong. It slipped through the cracks, and nobody’s happy about it.”
However, the unintentional erasure did not affect grainy images showing Neil Armstrong taking a “giant leap for mankind.”
The Washington Post reports that NASA later announced that it had restored the missing footage from copies obtained from other sources such as CBS News. NASA said the restored copies were of better quality than the original that went missing.
According to Moscow Times, Markin claimed — after casting doubt on the Apollo mission moon landings — that Russia was “not contending that they did not fly (to the moon) and simply made a film about it,” but that there was need to shed light on issues raised by the fact of the missing footage and lunar rock sample.
“We are not contending that they did not fly [to the moon], and simply made a film about it. But all of these scientific — or perhaps cultural — artifacts are part of the legacy of humanity, and their disappearance without a trace is our common loss. An investigation will reveal what happened.”
However, analysts have pointed out that Markin’s comments had ulterior motives. In the same piece, he also criticized U.S. investigation into allegations of corruption against FIFA officials. According to Markin, U.S. investigators had “declared themselves as supreme arbiters of international football.”
He accused the U.S. of “confused political bargaining with corruption.”
The latest bizarre development in the ongoing confrontation between the governments of President Vladimir Putin and the Obama administration comes after FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced his intention to stand down following allegations of bribery corruption against top FIFA officials.
[Images: NASA via Wikimedia Commons]