Technoarchaeology: 40 Year Old Mariner 5 Solar Wind Problem Finds Answer

Research led by astrophysicists at the University of Warwick has resolved a 40 year old problem with observations of turbulence in the solar wind first made by the probe Mariner Five. The research resolves an issue with what is by far the largest and most interesting natural turbulence lab accessible to researchers today.
Our current understanding tells us that turbulence in the solar wind should not be affected by the speed and direction of travel of that solar wind. However when the first space probes attempted to measure that turbulence they found their observations didn’t quite match that physical law. The first such data to be analysed from Mariner 5 in 1971 found a small but nonetheless irritatingly clear pattern in the turbulence perpendicular to both the direction of the travel and the magnetic field the solar wind was travelling through.

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First Earthrise Photo Taken 45 Years Ago Today

Keith’s note: 45 Years ago today, on 23 August 1966, Lunar Orbiter 1 snapped the first photo of Earth as seen from lunar orbit (Larger view). While a remarkable image at the time, the full resolution of the image was never retrieved from the data stored from the mission. In 2008, this earthrise image was restored by the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project at NASA Ames Research Center. We obtained the original data tapes from the mission (the last surviving set) and restored original FR-900 tape drives to operational condition using both 60s era parts and modern electronics. The following links provide background on the image, its restoration, and reactions to its release.
Here is a comparison of the full image in its original, familiar context (higher res)(print quality). You can download a 1.2 GB version from NASA here. Note: this is a very large file.

Newly Restored Lunar Orbiter Image of Earth and Moon (Detail)
How the Photo Was Taken
House of Representatives Honors Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project
Nimbus II and Lunar Orbiter 1 Imagery: A New Look at Earth in 1966
Dumpster Diving for Science, Science Magazine
What Lunar Orbiter 1 Was Seeing on 23 August 1966

Video: Comparing Lunar Orbiter and LRO Images of the Apollo 11 Landing Site

This video compares the best Lunar Orbiter Image and one of the best LRO Images of the Apollo 11 landing site. The photos were taken over 40 years apart. The Lunar Orbiter photo was taken in 1967 before Apollo 11 landed on the moon, whereas the LRO image was taken on December 22, 2009 and shows the LM Eagle’s descent stage resting on the lunar surface.
LOIRP Mentioned at Apollo 11 Anniversary Celebration, MoonViews
“Our Apollo 11 landing site image was used to set the context for the LRO picture. Mention was also made of the LOIRP – Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project. Here is a video shot with a small camera of Tyson’s comments regarding our image.”
Damaged Tape and Murky Moon Views, MoonViews
“We recently released two Apollo landing site images – Apollo 12 and Apollo 14 and had embarked upon getting an nice crisp image of the Apollo 11 landing site in time for the anniversary.”

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project Mentioned by NASA Advisory Council

The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) and its official website were mentioned during the activities of the NASA Advisory Council (NAC) during its meetings at NASA Ames Research Center this week. The first slide was shown by Lars Perkins as part of his presentation to the NAC on 4 August 2011 about the activities of the NAC’s Education and Public Outreach Committee. The second slide is from a presentation by NASA Lunar Science Institute Director Yvonne Pendleton during the EPO committee’s meeting on 2 August 2011.