Sunday, April 12, 2009

Rescued From The Trash: Moon Pics

A pirate flag at an old McDonald's site on NASA property and thousands of old moon images, rescued from the trash. Eventually the images will all be made available on-line, right now there's about thirty that NASA, along with "private corporations" (which NASA is as well) have put up on-line. The images were taken during the moon landing forty years ago, and reels upon reels of tape were about to be thrown out when they were "rescued." There's a lot of strange things about this story, from the pirate flag in the old McDonald's building, now a part of NASA property, to the idea that thousands of feet of film of the moon were "lost" all this time. And all of it shown on a pieced together machine:
Three researchers huddle around a wheezing 45-year-old Ampex FR-900A tape machine, a one-of-a-kind reel to reel 2-inch model designed to record data for the National Security Agency.

These tapes hold the best images of the moon ever taken, even to today,” says Dennis Wingo, a lanky 55-year-old engineering physicist who heads the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project.

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