NASA NLSI: “I stopped by to visit the folks at McMoon, more widely known as the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project: moonviews.com/ More about the project below, but one of the cool parts is that the images are being restored in an old McDonald’s at NASA Ames Research Center. Also note the nice geek touches like empty pizza boxes 🙂 This project, LOIRP, is recovering decades old data, digitizing data from the Lunar Orbiter mission of the 1960’s, thus bringing up the highest resolution data of the Moon from that time. This will greatly complement all the great Moon missions of this time, including the upcoming Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission launching in two weeks!”
Abandoned McDonald’s Serves Restored NASA Moon Pictures, National Geographic
“Inside this abandoned Mcdonald’s a bit of the past is moving into the future. Where customers used to down Big Macs, an ancient video tape machine spits out grainy images. Behind the counter, next to the Frymaster, there are endless stacks of tape reels. The former fast-food joint has now become mission command for a new effort to save some old NASA history.”
Note: the crater “Onizuka” is incorrectly identified in this video. Rather, “Onizuka” is the crater next and to the right of the one labled in the video as “The Onizuka”. The map below shows the craters around Apollo Basin that have been named after the crew of Challenger.
National Archives: “This film summarizes the exploration of the Moon conducted through unmanned Ranger, Surveyor and Lunar Orbiter spacecraft, and shows how such detailed data and photography contributed to the first manned flights to the Moon. The film describes the complexities of closeup photography of the Moon, and includes good views of craters, mountain ranges and other lunar terrain. This film received the following awards: Golden Eagle Certificate, Council on International Nontheatrical Events (CINE), 1968; and the Award of Merit, American Film Festival, 1968.”
“Keith Cowing talks about the kind of hacks made famous by the Apollo 13 mission, instances where the crew had to improvise using materials at hand. He discusses the following: Skylab Rescue – the umbrella used to replace solar insulation and boating tools bought at a local marina; Syncom Rescue – tools made out of plastic and duct tape; Apollo 13 CO2 removal, use of LEM engine, etc.; Apollo lunar rover fender repair; STS-120 EVA solar panel repair, and ISS camera tracker made from a power tool.”
“Credit: CNSA / tv.people.com.cn On October 8, 2010, Chang’E 2 fires its main engine to reduce the size of its lunar orbit, as the Moon swings through the field of view in the background. The firing of the engine begins just after the terminator passes out of view (from the camera’s point of view). As the spacecraft drops completely into the lunar shadow, the camera’s automatic exposure setting adjusts brighter, making part of the spacecraft visible in light emitted from the glowing thruster.”
This high resolution image, subframe 2162_H3, was taken by Lunar Orbiter 2 on 24 November 1966 at 00:05:42 GMT. The crater Copernicus is shown at an oblique angle. This video is from an enhanced version of the original image produced by the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP). Using better-tuned equipment and experience gained along the way, we decided to make a second pass at this wonderous photo. The result was worth the effort.
The original high resolution subframes can be seen below – or here: subframe 2162_H3, subframe 2162_H2, subframe 2162_H1
LOIRP Releases Enhanced Restored Version of the “Image of the Century” Plus Additional Subframes of Crater Copernicus, August 2009
Newly Restored “Picture of the Century”: Lunar Orbiter 2’s View of Copernicus, August 2009
Keith’s note: On Thursday, 10 December 2009, we conducted a live webcast from the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) at “McMoon’s” i.e. Building 596 at the NASA Ames Research Park.
Dennis Wingo and I give you a tour of our project including a walk through of the abandoned McDonald’s that has been our base of operations since 2008. We show you how we rack tapes, play them back, capture the data on a computer, and then stitch the image framelets together. You can look over our shoulders and see the imagery as it appears on one of our old TV monitors. We’ve picked an especially interesting tape to show you. Eventually this image will be posted online at LPI and submitted to the NSSDC.
This project has been funded and supported by a bunch of imaginative folks at ESMD, IPP, NLSI, ARC, SkyCorp, SpaceRef Interactive, and Odyssey Moon with assistance from a range of people ranging from retired Lunar Orbiter project personnel and Lockheed Martin employees to local high school and college students. Soon, we expect to have two tape drives fully operational and to be able to produce images on a daily basis.
Oh yes, in case you are wondering, I donate my time (and money) to this project. What fun. Its like bringing a time machine back to life in a high tech junkyard. We are looking to begin some pervasive EPO in coordination with NLSI and the Challenger Center for Space Science Education in the very near future.
The LOIRP Project has reached a major milestone of having two Ampex FR-900 Instrumentation Tape Drives operational at once. This will allow us to accelerate the production of images. This is probably the first time in 30 years that two FR-900s have been operational in the same room at the same time.
Austin Epps sitting in the LOIRP lab at “McMoons” at NASA Ames Research Center downloading imagery from an original Lunar Orbiter data tape using a restored FR-900 tape drive on 18 August 2009