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[Click on image to enlarge] Does any one at NASA Langley Research Center (or elsewhere in/around NASA) know where this large reproduction of the Lunar Orbiter 1 "Earthrise" image (or others like it) are currently located? Please drop an email to lunarorbiter-at-spaceref.com - thanks!

Image date: 12.14.1966 Caption: "Langley Center Director Floyd Thompson shows Ann Kilgore the "picture of the century." This was the first picture of the earth taken from space. From Spaceflight Revolution: "On 23 August 1966 just as Lunar Orbiter I was about to pass behind the moon, mission controllers executed the necessary maneuvers to point the camera away from the lunar surface and toward the earth. The result was the world's first view of the earth from space. It was called "the picture of the century' and "the greatest shot taken since the invention of photography." Not even the color photos of the earth taken during the Apollo missions superseded the impact of this first image of our planet as a little island of life floating in the black and infinite sea of space." Published in James R. Hansen, Spaceflight Revolution: NASA Langley Research Center From Sputnik to Apollo, (Washington: NASA, 1995), pp. 345-346."
Image reference at NASAimages.org

"Attached is a photo that I have of the Lunar Orbiter photo. I got if from my Dad who worked for North American Rockwell at the time this photo was taken. Is about 15" x 40". And states "Historic First Photo of Earth from Deep Space". Robert L. Wells, Salem, AL

"Griffith Observatory has a copy of the print, identical in size to the one shown in your story. It was somewhat worse-the-wear for being on public display for decades, and although it had some cosmetic restoration, it was crated and put in storage (where it remains) when the Observatory was closed for renovation in 2002." - Anthony Cook, Astronomical Observer, Griffith Observatory

"I don't know if it was a reprint or not, but we had one at Michoud Assembly Facility. It was there from the Saturn program. It hung on the Main isle. West side of the plant, on the north wall. It was across from the Mechanical Assembly area. Think around column K-4, but can't stake my life on the exact column number. Hope this helps, maybe give them a call." - Danny

Click on image to enlarge. "Hello... I wished that I had the large version in the story but I have had the smaller version since the 60's rolled up for a number of years and finally had the print framed about 25 years ago. Right now, it is in storage. As you can see, I brought it out to show some friends for a time and took a photo of it in front of my front door.... It is in fairly good shape, still. It was given to me from a friend that worked at JPL. It is one of my prized pictures and it is heart breaking that I don't have a wall to display it.... " Ernie Williams Cerritos, CA

Destination Moon: A History of the Lunar Orbiter Program

Bruce K. Byers, NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. 1977, NASA TM X-3487 PDF HTML

"In June 1967, as a member of the NASA History Office Summer Seminar, I began work on a history of the Lunar Orbiter Program, then in its operational phase. My objective was to document the origins of the program and to record the activity of the missions in progress. I also wanted to study the technical and management aspects of the lunar orbital reconnaissance that would provide the Apollo Program with photographic and selenodetic data for evaluating the proposed astronaut landing sites."

Extreme NASA Technoarchaeology

Israel to put Dead Sea scrolls online, AFP

"The Dead Sea scrolls, containing some of the oldest-known surviving biblical texts, are to go online as part of a collaboration between Israeli antiquities authorities and Google, developers said on Tuesday. The 3.5 million dollar (2.5 million euro) project by the Israeli Antiquities Authority and the Internet giant's local R&D division aims to use space-age technology to produce the clearest renderings yet of the ancient scrolls and make them available free of charge to the public. "This is the most important discovery of the 20th century, and we will be sharing it with the most advanced technology of the next century," IAA project director Pnina Shor told reporters in Jerusalem. The IAA will begin by using multi-spectral imaging technology developed by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration to produce high-resolution images of the sometimes-faded texts that may reveal new letters and words."

NASA Honors Lunar Science Trailblazer Don Wilhelms

Don Edward Wilhelms received the Shoemaker Distinguished Lunar Scientist Award last night during a ceremony of the Lunar Science Forum at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. The award is given annually to a scientist who has significantly contributed to the field of lunar science.

MyMoon Webcast: Learn About a New Citizen Scientist Program

Join the Lunar and Planetary Institute on April 21, 2010, for a live video webcast with Delia Santiago. She will discuss an exciting new citizen scientist program called MoonZoo. The rest of the conversation is up to you!

Santiago is the digital science strategist for the NASA Lunar Science Institute based at NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif. She works with interactive media and science collaboration tools to engage both the public and researchers inside and outside of NASA. Prior to joining the NLSI, Santiago worked at NASA's Ames Research Center with both the NASA CoLab program and the Life Science Payloads.

The MyMoon webcast begins at 8 p.m. EDT. Connect to the webcast at: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/mymoon/?p=p_santiago.cfm.

MyMoon (http://mymoon.lpi.usra.edu) is supported by funding from NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

Dumpster Diving for Science

NASA Dives Into Its Past to Retrieve Vintage Satellite Data, Science (subscription)

"Last month, researchers working out of an abandoned McDonald's restaurant on the grounds of NASA Ames Research Center recovered data collected by NASA's Nimbus II satellite on 23 September 1966. The satellite soared over Earth in a polar orbit every 108 minutes, taking pictures of cloud cover and measuring heat radiated from the planet's surface, and creating a photo mosaic of the globe 43 years ago. The resulting image is the oldest and most detailed from NASA's Earth-observing satellites. It's also the latest success story in what researchers call techno-archaeology: pulling data from archaic storage systems. Once forgotten and largely unreadable with modern equipment, old data tapes are providing researchers with new information on changes in the surfaces of Earth and the moon..."

... The LOIRP team obtained $750,000 from NASA and private enterprise and enlisted the assistance of a retired Ampex engineer. They cleaned, rebuilt, and reassembled one drive, then designed and built equipment to convert the analog signals into an exact 16-bit digital copy. "It was like dumpster diving for science," says Cowing, co-team leader at LOIRP. In November 2008, the team recovered their first image: a famous picture of an earthrise taken by Lunar Orbiter 1 on 23 August 1966. The team's new high-resolution version was so crisp and clear that it revealed many previously obscured details, such as a fog bank lying along the coast of Chile. "We thought if the Earth's surface looks that good a quarter of a million miles away, what does the moon's surface look like 100 miles beneath it?" says Cowing."

Click on image to enlarge

Buying Lunar Orbiter Tape Drive Parts on eBay

Dennis Wingo: Last night on the Ampex mailing list the following message was posted:

Over on the oldvtrs list, someone pointed out this eBay item: 110459620505

Several of us immediately identified them, not as quad modules, but as VPR-7900 modules. Then another member pointed out that they were the wrong size which caused me to take a closer look. I have just checked the actual machines to be certain, and also checked the manuals and the Ampex part number guide. Now, this has turned into a major mystery. Here's what I can tell you with absolute certainty:

1) The style of the front panels is like the 7900 series (ground jacks and board function listed at the bottom of each module...they are upside down in the pic), but the module functions, layout and part numbers do not match the 7900 (or 7800) series. They are also the wrong size.

2) The part numbers listed are all in the range of the part numbers used for the quad machines! The part numbers for the 7900 series was entirely different.

The seller seems quite sure that these were from a 2" quad. The part numbers seem to indicate that could be the case. Anyone have any ideas????? Perhaps something from special products division???? This is extremely curious!!!

Don

I thought this was interesting and since I am always looking for spares for our LOIRP FR-900's I checked it out on eBay. Here is the page I found.

Larger view

When I looked I was pretty certain that these were boards from our FR-900 machines. It had the right part numbers, so I called Ken Zin at home the night before Thanksgiving and asked him to verify, which he did and noted that these are newer version boards of the ones that we have!! So I bid on them and won them today.

I got this message from Don Norwood later:

Dennis:

Oh my, from the limited info I have, I can see that now! And in fact, they're not upside down in the pic as that orientation is correct for the FR-900. Wow! I hope you can use them!

So, after winning the boards on Ebay, we are pursuing the boards to get them shipped to us and to see if this fellow has some more. We will try to get the story from him of his dad and how he might have come by these extremely rare boards. In the year and a half of our project, this is the FIRST time that we have found anything related to the FR-900 hardware that did not come from Nancy Evans.

Image: a portion of our set of Lunar Orbiter data tapes at McMoon's - an abandoned McDonalds onsite at NASA Ames Research Park, home of the LOIRP - Lunar Orbiter Image recovery Project.

Here at the LOIRP (Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Process) project there are two different phases of the image retrieval process that are distinct from each other. The second phase, the production of the vast majority of all the of the Lunar Orbiter images, will simply involve putting tapes on the tape drive machines, acquiring the data, and processing them into images.

However, we're still in the first phase of the project where we need to search through tapes in a painstaking fashion just to find the images we are interested in downloading. Once we find what we are looking for, downloading is a snap and can be done in a matter of hours.

Finding the images using a jumbled nomenclature and labeling system last used more than 40 years ago is part of what we call "Technoarchaeology".

LOIRP
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