Imagine this, you’re on a mission to the moon. As your spacecraft passes to the dark side of the moon and radio communications are cut out, you hear a high pitched whistling sound that sounds strangely like music. Creepy right? Social media exploded with speculation and talk of UFOs this weekend when reports of the lunar mission mystery began to circulate. Astronauts on the 1969 Apollo 10 mission to the moon reportedly heard strange “music” when passing around the dark side of the moon, but was it an outer space mystery, or something explainable by science?
The speculation started when audio files from the Apollo 10 mission were released from N.A.S.A. No one payed much attention until the new Science Channel series “NASA’s Unexplained Files,” made the recording known. The episode first aired February 22nd and had inspired many theorists to come up with their own explanations for the strange phenomenon.
Out of radio contact with Earth and all alone on the far side of the moon, the astronauts were not expecting to hear anything on their instruments.
“You hear that? That whistling sound? Whoooooo,” says Cernan (An astronaut on the Apollo 10) on the recording.
“That sure is weird music.”
The sounds were so weird that the team debated whether or not to mention it to their superiors at NASA, out of fear that it could cast doubt on their suitability for future spaceflight.
As strange as this all is, it wasn’t actually space music, though conspiracy theorists may suggest otherwise.
A NASA technician on the TV show assesses that, “radios in the two spacecraft [the lunar module and the command module] were interfering with each other.”
This explanation is disputed by the ponderous astronaut Al Worden, who says on the show that “logic tells me that if there was something recorded on there, then there’s something there.” This is an opinion not shared by his fellow astronauts.
For example Michael Collins, the pilot of Apollo 11 and the first person to fly around the far side of the moon by himself (while teammates Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong were exploring the Lunar surface), also recalled hearing strange sounds, but did not think too much of it.
“There is a strange noise in my headset now, an eerie woo-woo sound,” he wrote in his book “Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut’s Journeys.”
“Had I not been warned about it, it would have scared the hell out of me … fortunately the radio technicians (rather than the alien hopefulls) had a ready explanation for it: it was interference between the LM’s and Command Module’s VHF radios.”
So it’s technically just radio interference. If you want to hear real space music, just listen to Pink Floyds’ album The Dark Side of the Moon.