New Space and Tech

Public Support Sought To Retrieve Apollo Era Moon Images

By Keith Cowing
April 8, 2013
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Public Support Sought To Retrieve Apollo Era Moon Images

“The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) is seeking support from the public as it continues its efforts to recover and enhance Moon images from the 1960s using modern technology.
The LOIRP was started with funding by several volunteers in 2008. The original volunteer effort was followed by financial support from NASA which has now been exhausted. Five Lunar Orbiter missions were sent to the Moon between 1966-67 to map the lunar surface to help select landing sites for Apollo human missions. The LOIRP managed to obtain original tape drives from the 1960s (covered in dust in a farmer’s barn) and a full set of original Lunar Orbiter analog data tapes (threatened with erasure) containing all images sent back to Earth by the five spacecraft. None of this had been functional or usable since the late 1960s. From the onset the LOIRP has been run on a shoestring budget. Housed in an abandoned McDonalds restaurant at Moffett Field, California, the LOIRP team used spare parts bought on eBay, developed new hardware reverse-engineered from math equations in original documentation, modern laptops, the expertise of retired engineers and scientists, and the dedication of young students.” More

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