Is it true that the original visual (Pictures and Film) material from the Nasa Lunar Missions are missing from the Warehouse where they were stored ?
Not as far as the
original negatives of still images are concerned. They were still there as of 2007:
Following the missions, the original moon photograph negatives were copied to duplicate film, which then were used to create prints. Most of the prints of these images in circulation today are third copies or fourth-generation photographs. For almost 40 years, the original negatives captured during these remarkable missions have been carefully preserved in long rolls of film in a freezer (at 0 degrees Fahrenheit) in the Film Archive of Johnson Space Flight Center in Houston, Texas.
The first generation copies of some of the transmissions from Apollo 11 have been misplaced. They do still have essentially copies of copies of those transmissions, however.
Apollo program missing tapes
There are apparently 700 missing boxes of magnetic tapes, most notably including the high-quality recordings of the video feed from the Apollo 11 moonwalk. Wikipedia has
a summary and there’s a more detailed account here (a pdf).
Whether they are missing or not, magnetic tapes from that era are fast deteriorating to the point of unreadability.
A lot will depend on their storage conditions, how often they they are rewound, etc. But even under the best conditions, mag tape starts to deteriorate at about 10 years old, according to some experts, and nearly all the experts agree that 30-40 years is the outside limit. The NASA moon landing was 40 years ago.
The state of the machines required to play these tapes is also somewhat perilous:
Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Overview
In the late 1980’s Nancy and Mark Nelson from Caltech began a project to obtain surplus FR-900 tape drives, refurbish them, and digitize the analog data on the tapes. This project was partially successful in that they were able to obtain raw analog data but due to lack of funding they were unable to continue their efforts.
Nancy Evans subsequently retired from JPL and Mark Nelson returned to private industry. They obtained the tape drives as government surplus hardware in an attempt to raise private funds for digitizing the lunar images. They were not able to get the funds and the drives sat in a barn in Sun Valley, CA for the next several decades.
Earliest NASA Moon Images Restored
This is less than 6 months old, so I hope it’s OK to bump with a link to this thread in MPSIMS
OK, hihg-resolution may be overstating the case, but, great news! You may have read how the original film footage of the first moon landing was lost. The footage seen on US television was very bad quality compared to the signal received from the...
announcing that the magnetic tapes storing the original video signal from the Apollo 11 landing have supposedly been found.