It was humankind's crowning achievement, with millions around the world glued to their television sets as US astronaut Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the moon 40 years ago.
But in the scientific equivalent of recording an old episode of EastEnders over the prized video of your daughter's wedding day, Nasa probably taped over its only high-resolution images of the first moon walk with electronic data from a satellite or a later manned space mission, officials said today.
It means that the familiar grainy and ghosting images of Armstrong's "giant leap for mankind" are all that remain from the mission, though the space agency has managed to digitally restore the footage into new broadcast-quality pictures that it released today.
"I don't think anyone in the Nasa organisation did anything wrong. It slipped through the cracks and nobody's happy about it," said Dick Nafzger, one of the last Apollo-era video engineers still working for the agency at Maryland's Goddard Space Flight Centre.