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NASA refurbishes video copies of moon landing

A Hollywood film restoration company took television video copies of what Apollo 11 beamed to Earth 40 years ago and made the pictures look sharper.

This NASA file image, dated July 20, 1969, shows one of the first footprints of Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the moon.

REUTERS/NASA/Handout

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WASHINGTON — With the help of Hollywood, those historic, grainy images of the first men on the moon never looked better. NASA unveiled refurbished video Thursday of the July 20, 1969, moonwalk restored by the same company that sharpened up the movie "Casablanca." NASA lost its original moon landing videotapes and after a three-year search, officials have concluded they were probably erased. That original live video was ghostlike and grainy.

NASA and a Hollywood film restoration company took television video copies of what Apollo 11 beamed to Earth 40 years ago and made the pictures look sharper.

NASA emphasized the video isn't "new" — just better quality.

"There's nothing being created; there's nothing being manufactured," said NASA senior engineer Dick Nafzger, who's in charge of the project.

But some details seem new because of their sharpness. Originally, Armstrong's face visor was too fuzzy to be seen clearly. The refurbished video shows his visor and a reflection in it.

The $230,000 refurbishing effort is only three weeks into a months-long project, and only 40 percent of the work has been done. But it does show improvements in four snippets: Armstrong walking down the ladder, which includes the face visor image; Buzz Aldrin walking down the ladder; the two astronauts reading a plaque they left on the moon; the planting of the flag on the moon.

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