Note: This website (moonviews.com) has not been regularly updated since 2014. Now that the project’s data has been submitted to NASA, this website will no longer be updated but will be maintained as an online archive of the LOIRP’s prior activities. Thank you for your interest in – and support of – our project.
Lunar Orbiter images processed by the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project are now online at the National Archives. Link
The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project Online Data Volumes were published online for public access by NASA at the Planetary Data System Cartography and Imaging Sciences Node on 31 January 2018. You can access all of the imagery recovered by LOIRP here:
The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project has ended. Final data was delivered to NASA in April 2017. McMoons (Building 596) has been vacated and the Lunar Orbiter tapes have been archived in another building at NASA ARC. Building 596 itself is likely to be demolished in the near future. The tape drives were donated to the Library of Congress several years ago. In 2017 the LOIRP Project received a NASA Ames Group Achievement Award and the Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History from the American Astronautical Society. Further information on this project will likely be available from NASA SSERVI here.
Emerging Space: The Evolving Landscape of 21st Century American Spaceflight, PDF, NASA Office of the Chief Technologist
“Crowdfunding offers space organizations avenues for fundraising outside traditional institutional methods. Sites like Kickstarter.com, Rockethub.com, and Indiegogo.com allow space companies to tap the financial resources of private citizens interested in space exploration. In addition to providing crucial funds for the companies, crowd funding allows citizens to directly engage in space exploration by funding the projects that interest them. The number of these projects continues to grow. Table 4 provides a few prominent examples known at the time of printing. … ISEE-3, a NASA probe launched in 1978, became the first spacecraft in deep space to be operated by a private-sector organization thanks in part to a crowd funding campaign.”
Note: When you add ISEE-3 Reboot Project ($160K) and Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project ($62K) together (both conducted by the same team) over $222,000 has been raised via crowdfunding. Click on image to enlarge.
“Our memory is dissipating. Hard drives only last five years, a webpage is forever changing and there’s no machine left that reads 15-year old floppy disks. Digital data is vulnerable. Yet entire libraries are shredded and lost to budget cuts, because we assume everything can be found online. But is that really true? For the first time in history, we have the technological means to save our entire past, yet it seems to be going up in smoke. Will we suffer from collective amnesia?”
The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project is featured starting at 17:15. This segment was filmed in early 2014.
This poster presentation by Keith Cowing and Dennis Wingo was produced for the NASA SSERVI Exploration Science Forum 21-23 July 2014. Click on image for full poster (PDF)
Any space mission worth doing should have an education and public outreach (EPO) component. An EPO effort helps to efficiently disseminate information to those with a specific interest in a particular mission. Done properly it also serves as a means to spur interest in space exploration in general amongst a much broader audience. With the use of various Internet and social media resources an effective EPO effort can now reach an audience in ways that were not possible a decade ago.
In Part 3 of The Invisible Photograph, see how the “techno archaeologists” of the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project digitally recovered the first photographs of the moon taken by a set of unmanned space probes in the 1960s. More information and Gigapan imagery.
Would-Be Rescuers of Wayward Spacecraft Previously Solved a NASA Mystery, New York Times
“Before reviving a zombie spacecraft, Dennis Wingo and Keith Cowing traveled to the past to rescue a trove of early moon photographs that otherwise would have been destined for oblivion. They did not actually time travel, but that might have been easier. Mr. Wingo, an entrepreneur and an engineer, and Mr. Cowing, the editor in chief of the NASA Watch website, had confidence that they could decipher decades-obsolete NASA equipment, because, as Mr. Cowing said, “we’ve done this before.” … The earlier project involved 1,500 magnetic tapes and a couple of old, broken tape drives. In 1966 and 1967, NASA sent five robotic spacecraft, the Lunar Orbiters, to photograph the moon’s surface to help find safe landing sites for the Apollo astronauts. The tapes, which recorded the original high-resolution images, and the tape drives ended up in the garage of a former NASA employee, and Mr. Wingo and Mr. Cowing embarked on a quixotic mission to retrieve the images.”
2-Minute Film Festival goes to the moon, Pittsburgh Post Gazette
The lunar orbiter project is made up of “a group of dedicated space industry professionals who have worked for several years to digitally recover the first photographs of the moon and the first photographs of Earth taken from the moon,” Ms. Heffley said. Their work site is an abandoned McDonald’s on a NASA naval air station in Mountain View, Calif. When the Carnegie Museum film crew arrived in March, the team of techno-archaeologists had just digitized the final of the more than 1,400 magnetic tapes.
Extraterrestrial: The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project and The 2-Minute Film Festival
Join us for the world premiere of Extraterrestrial, Part 3 of The Invisible Photograph. Begin the evening with a look into the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project. See how a team of techno-archaeologists digitally recovered the first photographs of the moon, taken by unmanned space probes and used to determine the landing sites for the Apollo missions of the 1960s and the 1970s. Then join us in the Sculpture Court for a screening of finalists from this year’s 2-Minute Film Festival, showcasing films that explore the concept of outer space–in two minutes or less. Picnic food and bar open in the Sculpture Court beginning at 7:30 p.m.
The Invisible Photograph, a production of the Hillman Photography Initiative, is a five-part documentary series investigating the expansive realm of photographic production, distribution, and consumption by way of the hidden side of photography.
8:15-9 p.m.- Screening of Extraterrestrial with Keith Cowing, co-lead of the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project and Divya Rao Heffley, Program Manager of the Hillman Photography Initiative.
9:15-11 p.m.- 2-Minute Film Festival, back for the 4th time!
$10; includes one drink ticket!
Culture Club is sponsored by: Great Lakes Brewing Company, Macy’s, and Bill Few Associates
Editor’s note: “Desert Moon”, by Jason Davis, premieres June 28, 2014 at the Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium in Tucson. The “Earthrise” imagery retrieved by the LOIRP is featured in the final film. We hope to have a link to an online version at some point soon.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy boldly declared that Americans would walk on the moon before the end of the decade. But at the time, scientists weren’t even sure whether the moon’s surface was solid, or just a thick layer of dust.
At the University of Arizona, an astronomer named Gerard Kuiper established one of the world’s first laboratories dedicated solely to lunar and planetary science. His team built telescopes in the mountains above Tucson to create detailed photographic maps of the lunar surface that would help NASA land a man on the moon. Kuiper also became the principal scientist for the Ranger program, an effort to send America’s first spacecraft to the moon. Ranger spacecraft intentionally crash-landed on the lunar surface, sending back high-resolution photos during their approach.
Desert Moon follows the origins of the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, and follows the effort to map and understand the moon prior to Neil Armstrong’s famous first step in 1969.
The documentary film features interviews with scientists who worked with Kuiper and helped kick-start the field of planetary science. Desert Moon debuts at Tucson’s Flandrau Science Center in Spring 2014.