lunedì 4 febbraio 2013

The Apollo 11 Moon landing, now with onboard audio

Italiano: la lavorazione di Moonscape ha raggiunto un'altra tappa importante, aggiungendo l'audio di bordo del modulo lunare durante l'allunaggio. Ora è possibile sentire anche le parole scambiate privatamente da Aldrin e Armstrong in quei minuti storici, ed emergono piccole sorprese, come l'ammissione di difficoltà da parte di Armstrong e l'esortazione di Aldrin ad Armstrong di far posare il modulo lunare prima che si esaurisse il propellente. La versione presentata qui sotto è quella sottotitolata in inglese: quella sottotitolata in italiano verrà messa in lavorazione nei prossimi giorni.

Moonscape is now available with synchronized and subtitled onboard audio during the Moon landing.

Onboard audio is distinguished visually from air-to-ground (ATG) audio by using a smaller font in italics and angle brackets, as shown here. In Moonscape's soundtrack, the onboard audio is on the left channel, while the ATG is centered and the Mission Control Flight loop is on the right channel.

This synchronization work reveals several interesting details. First of all, some of the garbled audio in the ATG recording can now be resolved as fragments of full sentences picked up by the onboard recorder. Moreover, in the onboard recording Armstrong turns out to be much more talkative than the ATG audio suggests. Indeed, there's a very uncharacteristic exchange between him and Aldrin around 102:37, where Neil sounds like he's having trouble and Aldrin encourages him to soldier on:

Armstrong: Well, I tell you, this is much harder to do than it was...
Aldrin: Keep it going.

This comes just after an impressive demonstration of Armstrong's skills, when he realizes (at 102:36) that they're ever so slightly off their expected timing:

Armstrong: Okay, we went by the three-minute point early. We're long.

He shares this observation with Houston on the ATG channel by saying that “Our position checks down range show us to be a little long”, but in the onboard audio he's more specific: “Roger, about three seconds long”. Armstrong was able to notice a three-second delay in the appearance of the lunar landmarks for which he had trained.

Later, as the LM's descent fuel is running out, Aldrin appears to be urging Armstrong to land instead of flying horizontally in search of a good landing spot: at 102:43, he first asks Neil to “Slow it up” and then (in the onboard audio only) to “Ease her down”.

There are no dramatic revelations in this enhanced version of the first lunar landing, since all the onboard audio was already transcribed in the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal, but it is nonetheless insightful to hear the actual voices of the astronauts, finally synchronized with all the available context.

This is an important milestone in the completion of the Moonscape project. The next steps in the ongoing production are the Italian subtitling of the onboard audio and the addition of an explanatory voice-over, written and edited so as to avoid overlapping the astronauts' words.

If you enjoy Moonscape, please consider helping by making a donation or offering work.

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