Apollo 10 astronauts Eugene Cernan, John Young and Thomas Stafford photographed before the famous mission. Credit: NASA

Apollo 10: Contact With Aliens Or A Bug In The System?

Apollo 10 was the fourth space mission with people on board from NASA's famous Apollo program. However, what happened during the flight and who (or what) tried to connect with American astronauts remains a mystery to this day.


Surrounded by the vastness of outer space, Apollo 10 astronauts suddenly lost contact with the Houston Control Center. At this point, they encountered an unidentified radio signal. They didn’t know exactly what they were hearing, but they were sure it’s something alien and very different from anything they’ve heard so far. When the mission ended and returned to Earth, all records related to the “incident” were classified.

The Apollo 10 mission began on May 18, 1969. This was the second space trip of its kind to the moon. The crew consists of three astronauts – the commander – Thomas Stafford, the pilot of the command module – John Young, and the pilot of the lunar module – Eugene Cernan. When they reached near the moon, the pilots began to circle around it and gradually approach to less than 15 km from its surface. After separating the lunar module and spending more than 60 hours in lunar orbit, they headed back to Earth.


Apollo 10 was one of the most complex and important missions in history. Thanks to it, an almost complete simulation of a moon landing was performed. The first color video broadcast from space was created during the mission. In short, the Apollo 10 crew literally paved the way for Apollo 11 and made it possible for Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to set foot on the lunar surface. 

But let’s go back to the event that literally shook the astronauts during their stay in space. Flying over the dark side of the moon, they completely lost touch with the Earth within an hour. It was in this period of time that they heard a strange whistling, which they said sounded like “space music.” The alien noise shocked the experienced NASA astronauts. They secretly agreed not to tell anyone about what happened, because “one way or another, hardly anyone will believe them.” And they turned out to be right. To some extent.

On the one hand, declassified case files 47 years later confirmed that the pilots in the Apollo 10 mission actually heard “mysterious sounds” as they flew over the far side of the moon. The record to them describes the conversation between the crew members we mentioned. And they themselves were firmly convinced that the sounds heard were an attempt at extraterrestrial contact with them.

On the other hand, astrophysicists have found that the mysterious sounds heard on board the ship are nothing more than simple interference and intertwining of radio signals. However, the question remains, if this is really just a simple connection disruption, why when the Apollo 10 crew returned to Earth, the information was removed from the mission records, and they were deeply classified in the NASA archives.


It is also strange why, after their declassification, they continue to be covered in NASA archives and only came to light in 2008. It is clear from the recordings that what they heard from Stafford, Young and Cernan sounded like alien music and did not look like anything they have heard before and likely after the mission.

According to scientist Kevin Baines, the sounds heard by Apollo 10 astronauts could not have come from Earth, because while they were above the far side of the moon, they had nothing to do with planet Earth. For almost an hour they listened to the strange cosmic sounds and repeatedly discussed what they are hearing.

Suddenly the strange cosmic music stoped. The pilots are wondering whether to report it to the control center in Houston but unanimously decided not to do so. However, their conversations were recorded and nothing was hidden anyway. But why is the topic of this obscured and has remained so for so long? 

Baines is adamant that some of these sounds definitely “sound like alien speech,” and in isolation, it’s perfectly normal for Apollo 10 pilots to think of them as such. Many scientists have argued that these are just noises coming from Saturn. There are several different theories about the origin of the mysterious sounds, but the Apollo 15 pilot Al Warden cannot agree with any of them. According to him:

“The Apollo 10 crew were very familiar with all possible sounds they could hear. Logic tells me that there really was something there … “

Stafford, Young, and Cernan never said a word about the strange incident and what they heard during their space flight. Not in front of his colleagues and executives in Houston, not in front of the public.

To this day, it remains an unsolved mystery, and Al Warden said in an interview that he suspects that there is a very, very precise reason for what was heard aboard Apollo 10, just that people have not yet discovered it.


“I don’t think we’re ready to understand it yet,” he added.

It is also interesting to note that all three Apollo 10 pilots continued to carry out missions in outer space in the years after their return in 1969. Weren’t they trying to find out what found them then? And what happened in their next space travel we can only guess… 

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Written by Vladislav Tchakarov

Hello, my name is Vladislav and I am glad to have you here on Curiosmos. As a history student, I have a strong passion for history and science, and the opportunity to research and write in this field on a daily basis is a dream come true.

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