The Project

In July 1969, much of the world celebrated “one giant leap for mankind.” Fifty years later, nothing is quite so straightforward.

In Event of Moon Disaster illustrates the possibilities of deepfake technologies by reimagining this seminal event. What if the Apollo 11 mission had gone wrong and the astronauts had not been able to return home? A contingency speech for this possibility was prepared for, but never delivered by, President Nixon - until now.

We invite you into this alternative history and ask us all to consider how new technologies can bend, redirect and obfuscate the truth around us.

The Installation

In Event of Moon Disaster premiered at IDFA DocLab on November 22, 2019 in the form of a physical installation designed to re-create a 1960s era American living room.

This project is a production of the MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality and is supported by Mozilla and the MIT Open Documentary Lab.

The Moon Disaster Team

  • Directors: Francesca Panetta, Halsey Burgund
  • Production: MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality, Professor Fox D. Harrell, Director
  • Producer: Danny Goldfield
  • Concept Design: Magnus Bjerg, Jeff DelViscio, Francesca Panetta, Halsey Burgund
  • Video Editing: Francesca Panetta, Jeff DelViscio, Halsey Burgund
  • Sound Editing: Francesca Panetta, Halsey Burgund
  • Graphic Design: Zoe Pruitt, Jeff DelViscio
  • Actor: Lewis D. Wheeler
  • Video Dialogue Replacement: Canny AI, Ltd
  • Voice Conversion Systems: Respeecher
  • Researcher: Vanessa Vera
  • Colorist: Jim Fetela
  • 5.1 Mix and Mastering: Claes Nystrom, Lukas Johnson
  • Newspaper Project Manager: JJ Otto
  • Newspaper Design: Betsy Willett
  • Newspaper Senior Writer: Pakinam Amer
  • Newspaper Writers: Betsy Willett, JJ Otto, Francesca Panetta, Halsey Burgund, James Burke, Cindy Bishop, Arwa Michelle Mboya, Karen Hao, Anica Butler, Steve Wilmsen
  • Newspaper Copy Editing: Anica Butler, Steve Wilmsen