KTVU: Old NASA Tapes Reveal Stunning New Moon Images; Resolution Unparalleled

Old NASA Tapes Reveal Stunning New Moon Images; Resolution Unparalleled

KTVU looked at several images, and the detail and clarity are astonishing. It's the difference between grainy 35mm film with several generations of degradation, and the 70mm film original.

"Dennis Wingo brought up NASA's publicly released photo from August 23, 1966, called "Earthrise." Time Magazine called it the "Photo of the Century" and it is certainly amazing even today. But on the next screen Wingo showed the digitized version from the original tracking station tapes. Zooming in on the first version, Earth looks a bit fuzzy, though you can make out cloud patterns. On the recovered version, you can see fog along the Chilean coast, ice floes near the Antarctic. It is truly astonishing.

"Using these and some other 1966 images, we may be able to help push NASA's climate data back in time a full decade, which will help with climate change studies," says Wingo.

On shots of the lunar surface, the first versions show a blurry shadow here, some grayish along the horizon. The digitized recovered image is crisp with the deep black of space hovering over a multi-shaded gray surface, almost as if you were looking out the window of some lunar highrise. You can see rocks the size of an office chair. Sharp shadows and almost a 3D effect."

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