McMoon Project: New Technologies Bring 60's Lunar Orbiter Photos to the Moon Again

    The original photograph of the 60s and its modern incarnation

    In the 1960s, NASA launched the Lunar Orbiter program, which aims to find suitable landing sites on the moon that were used by Apollo expeditions. In particular, the data from the Lunar Orbiter program was also used to plan the landing of the Apollo-11 module , with two people who became the first representatives of humanity on the moon.

    Each of the Lunar Orbiter devices was equipped with a special dual-lens camera. While one lens received an image of a large surface area, the second shot small surface details. The project used 70mm film, which, in theory, allowed us to obtain very high-quality photographs.

    However, the film did not hit the Earth - according to plan, the Lunar Orbiter devices, upon completion of their mission, fell on the Moon. Each device was also equipped with a film development module and data transmission to the Earth. As a result, as one would expect, the quality of photographs taken on Earth was worse than in the case of direct work with the film. Interference, interference, huge distance - all this led to a deterioration in the quality of the signal, and, accordingly, the images received on Earth.

    On Earth, scientists recorded all the incoming information on magnetic tape, in total about 1,500 cassettes were recorded. After the project was completed, the cassettes and all project data were abandoned. No, they were not thrown away, but they were forgotten for many decades.

    Another recovered frame

    And so, in the early 2000s, a group of enthusiasts, scientists, astronomers and engineers appeared who decided to translate information from the films into digital form, processing photos in order to improve their quality. The headquarters of the scientists was the abandoned McDonald's, next to one of the NASA bases.

    Therefore, the project was nicknamed McMoon (the official name is Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project ). Now a huge amount of old data has been digitized, and all this can be seen here .

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