At the USAF rehabilitation center, McCauley and Captain Kyle Rennish meet with Dr. Alice Roe. They’re there to see Jenny, Kyle’s daughter, who was in the family car when her mother died in the accident. As they go in, Alice warns Kyle that Jenny refuses to accept that her mother is dead. As the doctor starts to explain that Jenny said something strange, McCauley brings the girl in. Kyle tells his daughter that Alice said that she’s stable enough that he can go on a photographic reconnaissance mission to the moon. Jenny is disappointed and says that she thought her father was going to take her home to her mother. Alice reminds her of how they talked about her mother being dead, but Jenny says that her mother talked to her that morning and is helping her to walk. The doctor has Kyle take Jenny into the playroom to explain.
Once they’re alone, Alice asks McCauley if Kyle has to go along and McCauley says that his presence is vital. They’re exploring an unmapped area on the far side of the moon, and Alice notes that it’s hazard. She then comments that in the weeks since the accident, she’s seen a lot of Kyle and thinks that he isn’t over the shock of his wife’s death yet. However, Alice has nothing specific to report and McCauley points out that Kyle has promised his physicals and mental screenings. The doctor isn’t convinced, preferring to rely on instinct, and McCauley says that he’ll keep it in mind.
Later, Alice and Jenny are in the playroom as the spaceship takes off. Alice invites Jenny to wave to them as they go, but Jenny says that her father doesn’t need good luck because he’s coming back. Her mother told her that Kyle is coming back.
Later at a recon igloo on the moon, Kyle is checking his cameras. As he finishes, McCauley and Lt. Rudy Manton come in and Kyle brushes past them. McCauley blames his friend’s abruptness on his wife’s death and Rudy suggests that they shouldn’t have let Kyle come up. However, the colonel tells Rudy to keep an eye on Kyle and help him as much as he can. The crew head outside and Kyle takes his photos. Later he comes back inside and begins developing them, but finds something unusual on one photo of the nearby peaks. He shows the photo to McCauley and confirms that they’re the first expedition there. Kyle points out an unusual formation and insists that it’s a spherical manmade structure. McCauley agrees that it looks manufactured and Kyle insists on going out to check up on it. Rudy comes in and they show him the photo, and he wonders if there’s anything on the other photos.
When Kyle goes to check, McCauley asks Rudy if the photo could have been faked. Rudy admits that they have the equipment to create a fake and they both remember that Kyle once created some phony ghost photos as a prank. Kyle comes back and tells them that there’s nothing in the other photos. Rudy blurts out that it might be a fake and Kyle insists that says that it wasn’t. He plans to go out and prove it, and McCauley insists that he take Rudy with him as a witness.
Kyle and Rudy take more photos and go back to develop them. However, the object is no longer in the photo. Kyle realizes that they don’t believe him and insists that the first photo was real. McCauley asks for his theory and Kyle confirms that there were no supply rockets that might have lost something. Kyle wants to go to the peaks, but McCauley points out that there are jagged rocks and that Kyle has his job to finish. When Kyle storms off, McCauley says that he knows of a way to settle things but he needs Rudy’s help, off the record.
McCauley and Rudy go out and take some photos, and then come back and tell Kyle that he was right. The object is back but has moved twenty yards away. McCauley calls Captain Jerry MacIntyre at the moonbase and he confirms that no supply rockets have passed over the area. The colonel asks MacIntyre to keep quiet about it for the time being while he goes out and investigates. When MacIntyre objects, McCauley explains that Rudy will stay behind and keep in radio contact while he and Kyle check out the object.
When McCauley and Kyle arrive at the peaks, they discover that the object has moved back to the first spot where Kyle saw it. They don’t have enough air to climb around and it's too high to go up initially. However, as they start to head back, Kyle finds a narrow path up. McCauley warns Rudy that they may move out of radio contact and then they proceed up. Rudy reports to MacIntyre and admits that if there’s any trouble, it would take him two hours to get there. MacIntyre tells him to prepare extra oxygen tanks in case he has to leave.
McCauley and Kyle proceed up the path and spot the object. While the colonel pauses to get a better view, Kyle continues climbing, slips, and falls into a shallow fissure. McCauley pulls him out and they continue climbing. When they get to the top, they discover that the object is the space helmet of a dead astronaut. It’s clear that he hasn’t moved in a long time despite the photographic evidence.
Kyle starts to choke and McCauley confirms he damaged his oxygen tank’s connection when he slipped. The captain irritably says that he doesn’t care if he lives and hasn’t cared for a long time, and tells McCauley to abandon him. McCauley refuses to leave him alone and tells Rudy that Kyle only has a half-hour left. Working against time, McCauley checks the dead astronaut’s oxygen tank but discovers that it’s empty. The sunlight has burned off the name on the helmet and there’s no other identification.
McCauley assumes that the sunlight reflecting off the helmet made it appear and disappear, but he doesn’t know how the dead man moved. The colonel takes the astronaut’s tape recorder and plays it, and they listen as the astronaut describes his last few minutes of life as he uses up his oxygen. He mentions a Colonel Gould and they recognize the name as the commander of a previous spaceship, MR-2, that disappeared without a trace five years ago. When the astronaut mentions that Gould died twenty yards away when he slipped, they realize that the second photo was of Gould, not the first astronaut. The astronaut describes how there are plenty of oxygen tanks in the wrecked ship, just over the hill. Kyle still refuses to go, insisting that the oxygen will have run out. If that’s the case, then McCauley will have used up too much oxygen to save himself. McCauley is willing to bet his life to save his friend. When Kyle says that he can’t walk, McCauley tells him to learn to walk just like Jenny is.
They make their way to the crashed ship and confirm that the oxygen tanks are intact. As they head back, MacIntyre checks the records and confirms that the MR-2 was the second manned ship to attempt a lunar landing. They lost radio contact with earth and nothing was heard from them again. The commander was Colonel George Gould, Captain Jeffrey Tuttle, and Captain Kenneth Morsley.
Later back on earth, Kyle and McCauley go to the rehabilitation center to see Jenny. Alice calls to Jenny, who walks into the room and goes to her father. They embrace as McCauley tells Alice that she’s done a tremendous job. Alice admits that she’ll miss Jenny, who says that her mother helped her. The doctor has Jenny explain that she knows her mother is dead, and claims her mother talks to her because she remembers all the nice things that she said.
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