The five Lunar Orbiter missions took photographs of the Moon and processed them - on film - in lunar orbit - via a chemical process developed by Eastman Kodak - one that is somewhat similar to Polaroid's instant film products. The developed images were scanned and sent back to Earth and stored as analog data. After the missions were completed the tapes and rives were stored and then forgotten. A generation later, in 2008, the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) re-engineered the original tape drives and re-processed the original mission analog data tapes - using 21st Century processing capabilities to produce dramatically enhanced versions of these iconic and historic images. We wholeheartedly believe that there are new things than can be learned from old stuff. As such, when we learned of this effort to save - and continue - the Polaroid analog image process (Kodak's competitor), well, we had to support it.
According to Wikipedia:
"Polaroid Corporation is an American-based international consumer electronics and eyewear company, originally founded in 1937 by Edwin H. Land. It is most famous for its instant film cameras, which reached the market in 1948, and continued to be the company's flagship product line until the February 2008 decision to cease all production in favor of digital photography products. The company's original dominant market was in polarized sunglasses, an outgrowth of Land's self-guided research in polarization after leaving Harvard University after his freshman year—he later returned to Harvard to continue his research."
According to the project's website:
"We're always dreaming about making the impossible possible and lately we can't stop thinking about a new Impossible camera. We envision a high quality camera that is optimized to make the best out of our new, constantly improving film materials.
Therefore we have now started the Impossible Camera Project. Together with a small team of real analog camera experts, amongst others long time Polaroid camera expert Henny Waanders, we are currently evaluating and researching all possible and impossible possibilities regarding the production of a new analog instant camera.
Our idol is the legendary Polaroid SX 70 camera. Discontinued more than 30 years ago, this Polaroid cam is one of the most wanted instant cameras worldwide. The reasons are obvious: the high quality lens combined with the revolutionary folding design and the premium materials are simply irresistible. In 1972 this camera was simply the revolution and it changed the world of photography taking hearts in storm. Since today the SX-70 has not lost anything of its magic and it is still our hero as well as inspiration in all undertaking towards an Impossible camera.
Stay tuned to learn more as soon as things evolve."
According to ITT (which bought Kodak):
"Photos were processed automatically by the Orbiter's photographic system as the spacecraft orbited the Moon's dark side. This operation was performed by a KODAK BITMAT diffusion transfer process using 'dry' chemistry. A high-intensity light beam then optically scanned the photographic prints, and the images were transmitted to receiving stations on Earth."