[Atompunk] lunar landing tapes found and space age archeology
rpayton at gmail.com
Fri May 1 22:27:03 CEST 2009
This story is a bit disjointed, as I am piecing it together from 2
metafilter posts, some news stories, various blogs, and conspiracy theorists
going nuts about it. But the short version is that a woman recently found a
huge archive of Lunar landing imagery that was ignored by NASA and has
decided to make it public. This requires a bit of archeology as the
machinery to read the images are hard to find and quite esoteric. There's a
blog on space age archeology - recovering this kind of material before it is
lost forever - at the bottom of this message. Lots of good atompunk fodder
*Forty years ago, unmanned lunar orbiters circled the moon taking extremely
high-res photos of the surface to plan landing spots for Apollo 11 onward...
In this McDonalds, the only copy of that data is about to be resurrected.
Erik and I dropped in for a visit after the LUNAR rocket launch at NASA
And gosh, Alieness may be right too when they look at those images carefully
for three-toe footprints...
They have never been seen by the public because at the time, they were
classified because they would reveal the extreme precision of our spy
satellites. Instead, all we have ever seen are the grainy photo of a photo
images that were released to the public.
The spacecraft did not ship this film back to Earth. Instead, they developed
the film on the Lunar Orbiter and then raster scanned the negatives with a 5
micron spot (200 lines/millimeter resolution) and beamed the data back to
Earth using yet-to-be-patented-by-others lossless analog compression. Three
ground stations on Earth (one was in Madrid) recorded the transmissions on
these magnetic tapes.
Recovering the data has proven to be very difficult, requiring technological
archeology. The only working version of the Ampex tape player ($300K when
new) was discovered in a chicken coop and restored with the help of the
original designer. There is only one person on Earth who still refurbishes
these tape heads, and he is retiring this year. The skills to read this data
archive are on the cusp of disappearing forever. *
Space age archeology blog http://zoharesque.blogspot.com/
Raillery: A Comedy video podcast
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