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'NASA's Unexplained Files': Apollo 16 mystery

'NASA's Unexplained Files': Apollo 16 Mystery Sighting Solved Decades Later

The 10th manned mission in the US Apollo space program was supposed to be a seemingly textbook one. However, the astronauts' return to Earth failed to truly mark the end of Apollo 16. The Science Channel took a look back at the mystery that took decades to solve.

Before returning to Earth, the crew retrieved film canisters from cameras outside the spacecraft. When the film was processed back on Earth, the images suggest Apollo 16 may not have been alone in space.

One of the images revealed an unidentified object with a strong resemblance to a Hollywood-esque flying saucer. Many wondered: how was it that the camera caught a glimpse of this 'flying anomaly,' but the astronauts did not?

One theory that surfaced was that the object was an image of Earth, as seen from the moon. That was debunked, however, when it was determined that the Earth wouldn't have been in that position from the moon's viewpoint. The mystery remained unsolved for more than three decades.

Using new technology in image analysis, which enabled NASA scientists to boost the image resolution, another object is revealed. A strap appears to connect the flying saucer to the command module. So what was it? A floodlight for the astronauts' spacewalks. Just like any other work site, astronauts needed light when working in the dark.

After 32 years, a very bright light was shed on this extraterrestrial mystery.


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dchrist201 March 11 2014 at 2:32 PM

So, if it was connected to the command module, why didn't the astronauts identify it?

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1 reply
furelisse2 dchrist201 March 15 2014 at 9:41 AM

Damn.. Do they have to explain it as though they are talking to a bunch of 5 yr olds? Apparently. To the naked eye or someone simply looking through the view finder of the camera ... there is nothing unusual. However, when the picture was taken, the glare and flash created an orb type glow (reflection). A distorted image. When the photos were viewed much later, the question became.. "what the heck is that" I don't remember taking or seeing such an object when I took the picture" So, of course the explanation makes perfect sense. No mystery here. Why should NASA or anyone else spend countless time trying to explain something irrelevant and ridiculous, just to appease the mindless idiots that are about? Great. Maybe there is life in far away galaxies.. maybe not. To think the Gov. would cover it up if there were, .... boarders on the edge of lunacy and paranoia. What do they have to gain by doing so? Keep in mind.. they can't explain something, or make a statement on a subject that they can't explain or is still categorized as "Unidentified" The Gov. tends to do dumb and stupid things as is.. no reason looking more idiotic trying to explain "unidentified sightings or happenings due to "alien happenings." Again, the point is.... there may or may not be life outside our universe. It would simply be irresponsible to "make the statement" that there is when in fact they don't have the proof or can explain what something is if its explainable. Then again, why would they? After reading some of the idiotic comments and the idiotic who derive such stories of fantasy, conspiracy, and the like. These are the types of people who get delusional and panic, causing complete ciaos and making it nearly impossible to study and find reasonable answers and conclusions.

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no7mk1 March 15 2014 at 12:02 PM

but at least they discovered the moon's not made of green cheese...

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1 reply
Dave no7mk1 March 15 2014 at 12:37 PM

Green cheese? You can't be serious. Every time we look at the moon, which view thereof is enhanced by by bright sunlight, it is is white. The debate is what kind of white cheese. (Tongue in cheek.)

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2 replies
dkodmdms Dave March 15 2014 at 12:50 PM

White Cheddar by golly!!!

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arenadood Dave March 15 2014 at 12:53 PM

Seeing all the holes I would guess Swiss Cheese.

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blackhawk047 March 15 2014 at 2:10 PM

See it WAS a UFO and now it's not. I keep trying to tell people this. If you see a light in the sky and you don't know what it is it is an UNIDENTIFIED FYING OBJECT. If it lands in your back yard and little green men come out IT IS NO LONGER A UFO as you KNOW what it is.

You are not a nut case if you see a UFO. Ive seen hundreds of them. Never saw a spaceship from aother planet and if i did it wouldn't be a UFO as I would KNOW what it is.

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racurrry March 15 2014 at 8:35 AM

You mean to say the astronauts did not know they had a large light out there !?!

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2 replies
Welcome Justin racurrry March 15 2014 at 9:24 AM

That was my thought. If it was a light out there, the astronauts should have known that from the get go and not have taken 30+ years and computer enhancing to figure it out.

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james_oberg racurrry March 21 2014 at 9:02 AM

Good question. I had asked them to look at one the 16-mm low-res stills,-- and they hadn't ever seen the floodlight from that angle. So yeah, it didn't occur to them what it was. They shrugged it off. Once you fly to the moon and back, a blivet in the corner of your vacation movies don't seem too interesting.

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Paul March 15 2014 at 8:57 AM

If UFO's aren't real, why does the Air Force have a standing rule that states " Any AF personnel giving out information regarding UFO's are subject to a $10,000. fine and 10 years in prison". Just wondering.

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1 reply
ballhairball11 Paul March 15 2014 at 9:12 AM

UFO's are real. Anything that is Flying that can't be Identified, is technically a UFO. As for the interpretation that UFO means Alien Space Craft, well not sure how one derives that conclusion.

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1 reply
ajr_rocks ballhairball11 March 15 2014 at 9:25 AM

so technically the Malaysian Airlines flight 370 is a UFO?!?!?

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Thomas March 15 2014 at 9:01 AM

30 + years to figure that sh****31t out, no wonder our homeland is going down the flippen tubes

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Billy Rogers March 15 2014 at 9:16 AM

And on the planet Rubahb, the council is still laughing their multiple heads off, "and they thought it was a spotlight!"

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1 reply
EUGENE Billy Rogers March 15 2014 at 12:12 PM

a great commercial idea ! it was a GE flood light .brighten up your sky space with GE our astoronaut did !!

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CAPT.ESTAN F. March 15 2014 at 10:43 AM

I think Buzz has a point,and I think he and all the Astronauts should be compensated more than the Military retirement. They were all dedicated airman who put there life on the line many times,and endeared many months of training. Capt. Estan L.Fuller Eal. Ret.

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wittlief March 15 2014 at 8:46 PM

The bigger question is: Why did two astronauts have to do a space walk during lunar orbit
To get the film from the cameras?!
This is extremely risky considering they did not expect to see anything remarkable on the film!

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alwayswondering16 March 15 2014 at 8:24 PM

Why on earth would they not have realized what this was right away. I mean, come on.

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2 replies
alwayswondering16 alwayswondering16 March 15 2014 at 8:26 PM

I mean, if it is part of the floodlight for space walks, why would they not know that right away.

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steveap alwayswondering16 March 15 2014 at 10:26 PM

Same reason it takes people 5 years to realize Obama is an idiot.

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