Wednesday, July 30, 2014

LOIRP recovers space history

Think of the countless thousands of images NASA spacecraft have beamed to Earth.  Keith Cowing, owner of the NASAWatch web site, knew that many images from older missions were being lost forever, slowly degrading in unreadable formats or locked on drives no one knew how to access.  So he did something about it. Keith and other enthusiasts set up in an abandoned McDonald's near NASA's Ames Research Center and set about retrieving images taken by NASA's five Lunar Orbiters in the 1960s.   These had been recorded directly from electronic pulses to tape, and there was no simple way, even then, of examining them. They had to be printed out, in huge formats.  The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project managed to MacGyver setups that pulled that information off the tapes into readable digital images.  This is, to put it mildly, a noble and laudable effort, a where people have stepped in to save a precious piece of NASA's proud history.

Earthrise over the Moon as seen by Lunar Orbiter 1 on August 24, 1966.

1 comment:

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