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We have made progress in storing and retrieving information

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File:A small cup of coffee.JPG From “Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project: The Hackers Who Recovered NASA’s Lost Lunar Photos”:

Between 1966 and ’67, five Lunar Orbiters snapped pictures onto 70mm film from about 30 miles above the moon. The satellites were sent mainly to scout potential landing sites for manned moon missions. Each satellite would point its dual lens Kodak camera at a target, snap a picture, then develop the photograph. High- and low-resolution photos were then scanned into strips called framelets using something akin to an old fax machine reader.

The photos were stored with remarkably high fidelity on the tapes, but at the time had to be copied from projection screens onto paper, sometimes at sizes so large that warehouses and even old churches were rented out to hang them up. The results were pretty grainy, but clear enough to identify landing sites and potential hazards. After the low-fi printing, the tapes were shoved into boxes and forgotten.

They changed hands several times over the years, almost getting tossed out before landing in storage in Moorpark, California. Several abortive attempts were made to recover data from the tapes, which were well kept, but it wasn’t until 2005 that NASA engineer Keith Cowing and space entrepreneur Dennis Wingo were able to bring the materials and the technical know how together.

We can draw reasonable conclusions from what we now know or continue to speculate.

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4 Replies to “We have made progress in storing and retrieving information

  1. 1
    Eric Anderson says:

    Yet another live example of the fact that information can exist, even before we have access to it or know exactly what is there.

    The existence of information is a separate issue from our ability to access the information or from our ability to recognize the information.

    Jus’ sayin . . .

  2. 2
    Upright BiPed says:

    OT:

    Between 1966 and ’67, five Lunar Orbiters snapped pictures onto 70mm film from about 30 miles above the moon.

    Ah, a blast from the past. Those (I am pretty certain) weren’t Kodaks as the article states; they were 70mm Beaties. An old box worklhorse. The whole thing was crazy.

    /semi-nostaglia

  3. 3
    Mung says:

    Upright BiPed, those cameras could never have fit on a spaceship. That’s how I know the moon landing was faked.

  4. 4
    Dionisio says:

    Interesting. Thanks.

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