Little were they
expecting to see a "disc shaped object" swooping by them several times and a
‘blinding light’ glaring into their eyes. They also claimed they felt a "wave of
internal heat within the space capsule" (15) and they estimated the size of the
object to be about ten square miles. They also heard
strange radio noises, which they described as either being "intolerably high
frequency noises" or "weird garble". (16) The next trip to the Moon was the Apollo 10 mission that
took place between 18th – 26th May 1969. The task for
astronauts Thomas P Stafford, John W Young and Eugene A Cernan (right), was to
test the lunar landing vehicle in the skies above the moon’s surface and
duplicate every manoeuvre that the subsequent Apollo 11 would carry out, except
the landing itself.
They achieved lunar orbit on 22nd May 1969 and
descended to within nine miles of the lunar surface. As they dropped down, an
object suddenly rose vertically from directly below them. 16mm movie footage in
addition to still photographs were taken of this event.
Apollo 11 (16th – 24th July 1969) was
destined to finally end the initial objective of the space race; to land man on
the Moon’s surface. Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin were
to carry the honour of this historic mission that blasted into space on
16th July 1969. Then, a day after leaving Earth, the crew spotted an
unusual object between their ship and the Moon. At first they thought it was the
Saturn V booster rocket; however after calling Houston for confirmation, they
were advised that the booster was 6000 miles away. The technical debriefing held
after the astronauts’ returned home gives further details of this
Aldrin: The first unusual thing that we saw I guess, was one day out or
something pretty close to the moon. It had a sizeable dimension to it, so we put
the monocular on it.
Collins: How’s we seen this thing? Did we just look out of the window and
there it was?
Aldrin: Yes, and we weren’t sure but what it might be the S-IVB. We called
the ground and were told the S-IVB was 6000 miles away. We had a problem with
the high gain about this time, didn’t we?
Collins: There was something. We felt a bump or maybe I just
Armstrong:: He was wondering
whether the MESA had come off
Collins:: I don’t guess we felt anything.
Aldrin:: Of course, we were seeing all sorts
of little objects going by at various dumps and then we happened to see this one
brighter object going by.
We couldn’t think of anything else it could be other
than the S-IVB. We looked at it through the monocular and it seemed to have a
bit of an L-shape to it.
Armstrong:: Like an
Aldrin:: We were in PTC at the time so
each of us had a chance to look at this and it certainly seemed to be within our
vicinity and of a very sizeable dimension.
Armstrong:: We should
say it was right at the limit of the resolution of the eye. It was very
difficult to tell just what shape it was. And there was no way to tell the size
without knowing the range or the range without knowing the size.
Aldrin: So then I got
down in the LEM and started looking for it in the optics. We were grossly misled
because with the sextant off focus what we saw appeared to be a
Armstrong: Or really
Armstrong: Two rings.
Two connected rings.
Collins: No. It looked like a hollow
cylinder to me. It didn’t look like two connected rings. You could see this
thing tumbling and, when it came round end on, you could look right down its
guts. It was a hollow cylinder. But then you could change the focus on the
sextant and it would be replaced by this open book shape. It was really
Aldrin: I guess there’s not
much more to say about it other than it wasn’t a cylinder.
Collins: It was during this period when we
thought it was a cylinder that we enquired about the S-IVB and we’d almost
convinced ourselves that’s what it had to be. But we don’t really have a
conclusion as to what it might have been, how big it was, or how far away it
was. It was something that wasn’t part of the urine dump, we’re pretty sure of