When I first started writing these blogs about a year ago, I noted that people often ask about getting copies of programs we aired years ago, on which a friend or loved one appeared.
At the time, I said not all of those shows exist...if they ever existed (many were live and never recorded)...on tape. I added that was also true for programs which aired on the major television networks.
It turns out television isn't the only place where old...and potentially historic...video has been destroyed.
Here's an article which appeared this week...edited for brevity...from the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- NASA STILL CAN'T FIND ITS LOST ORIGINAL MOON LANDING VIDEOTAPES. BUT THAT FIRST MOONWALK NEVER LOOKED BETTER, THANKS TO NEW DIGITALLY REFURBISHED COPIES UNVEILED THURSDAY.
THE ORIGINAL VIDEOS BEAMED TO EARTH WERE STORED ON GIANT REELS OF TAPES THAT CONTAINED 15 MINUTES OF VIDEO ALONG WITH 13 OTHER CHANNELS OF LIVE DATA FROM THE MOON. IN THE 1970S AND 1980S, NASA HAD A SHORTAGE OF THE TAPES AND ERASED ABOUT 200,000 OF THOSE TAPES AND REUSED THEM.
Arguably...there is no bigger event in our nation's history than the first landing of man...and his subsequent first footsteps...on the moon. But NASA, apparently faced with a lot of concerns...mainly where to store hundreds of thousands of old tapes, and probably budget concerns associated with simply tucking them away in a safe and secure area...chose to erase and reuse them. Someday...when it's too late...they may find someone might have been interested in some small detail that had been on one of those tapes.
Tapes and now disks...especially the modern ones...are a convienent way to store old video. But the space (no pun intended), financial and physical requirements involved in keeping them in good shape are sometimes not worth keeping them.
Sometimes, even NASA has to think in the present...instead of the future.