US space agency NASA has admitted that the original recordings of the first humans landing on the moon 40 years ago were erased and that the restored copies of the original broadcast are being used and they look far better. But the claim has left conspiracy theorists up in arms alleging that it was a cover up operation to hide anomalies in their original recordings that are being questioned with the help of advanced technology.

Buzz Aldrin
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin walks on the surface of the moon near the leg of the lunar module Eagle during the Apollo 11 mission, mission commander Neil Armstrong took this photograph with a 70mm lunar surface cameraNASA

The widely circulated original NASA image shows Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin standing on the Moon, next to their vehicle Eagle on July 20, 1969. It also carried astronauts Neil Armstrong, who was the Mission Commander and the first man to step on the Moon, Michael Collins, who was the Command Module pilot, besides Aldrin, who was the Lunar Module Pilot. The image was taken by Armstrong.

NASA has claimed that the photograph has been improved with digital make-over of the original landing footage that removes the blurry and grainy images of Armstrong and Aldrin seen walking on the moon. Burbank, a California-based Lowry Digital firm will be released in September, while the preview is made available at

Way back in 2006, NASA had admitted for the first time its original video recordings of the July 20, 1969, landing were not traced and its engineer Richard Nafzger has been looking for them since then at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

Now NASA says that the tape has been found and it was magnetically erased and re-used to save money. Nafzger, however, refuted the argument of conspiracy theorists who believe the entire moon landing mission conducted six times from 1969 to 1972 was staged on a movie set or secret military base.

"This company is restoring historic video. It mattered not to me where the company was from," Nafzger said, brushing aside criticism of using a Hollywood-based company for the purpose. "The conspiracy theorists are going to believe what they are going to believe," said Lowry Digital Chief Operating Officer Mike Inchalik.

Nafzger said someone else in Sydney also made recordings but "these tapes are not in the system. We are certainly open to finding them." (With inputs from Reuters)