The Surveyor Digitization Project

Image: This image of Earth was captured by Surveyor 7 in 1968. The image, stored on a 70 millimeter film reel negative, also contains calibration metadata. NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory

"It's hard to believe, but just three years before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon in 1969, humanity had yet to soft-land anything there. If the United States was really going to put astro-boots on the ground, it would be nice to get a preliminary look at the surface. In 1964 and 1965, three camera-equipped spacecraft called Ranger crash-landed into the moon, giving scientists their first up-close look. The Soviet Union's Luna 9 gently touched down in the Ocean of Storms in February 1966, becoming the first spacecraft to send home images from the surface. Four months later, the U.S. followed suit with Surveyor 1, the first of seven robotic spacecraft sent to investigate Luna firma between 1966 and 1968. Two didn't make it in one piece, but of the five that did, some 87,000 images were relayed back to Earth via television cameras. Astonishingly, less than two percent of those images have ever been seen. That's according to a team of scientists at the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL), which plan to bring Surveyor's unseen work to light. The group, led by Dr. Shane Byrne, will digitize the entire collection and release it into the public domain."

More at Planetary Society: "Surveyor Digitization Project Will Bring Thousands of Unseen Lunar Images to Light"

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