Restoring History

NASA’s early lunar images, in a new light, Los Angeles Times
“Rising over the battered surface of the moon, Earth loomed in a shimmering arc covered in a swirling skin of clouds. The image, taken in 1966 by NASA’s robotic probe Lunar Orbiter 1, presented a stunning juxtaposition of planet and moon that no earthling had ever seen before. It was dubbed the Picture of the Century. “The most beautiful thing I’d ever seen,” remembered Keith Cowing, who saw it as an 11-year-old and credited it with eventually luring him to work for NASA. But in the mad rush of discovery, even the breathtaking can get mislaid. But in the mad rush of discovery, even the breathtaking can get mislaid. NASA was so preoccupied with getting an astronaut to the moon ahead of the Soviets that little attention was paid to the mountains of scientific data that flowed back to Earth from its early space missions. The data, stored on miles of fragile tapes, grew into mountains that were packed up and sent to a government warehouse with crates of other stuff. And so they eventually came to the attention of Nancy Evans, a no-nonsense woman with flaming red hair that fit her sometimes-impatient nature.”

5 Replies to “Restoring History”

  1. What a great discovery. This is the stuff of a science fiction movies, where further analysis of the pictures shows some significant lunar surface changes since the pictures were taken in the 1960’s. Can’t wait for all of the pictures to made public.

  2. My father worked on the shutter for the lunar orbiter for Bolsey in Stamford, CT. He is Swiss and knew Emily Bolsey from his work in the camera industry. The shutter for the orbiter would not work properly; his project was to fix it quickly since they were behind schedule. One problem was that the camera shutter would intermittently trigger due to a transient signal in the electronics. They had a fix for the problem, but there was no time to implement it before the launch. The interesting thing about this picture is that he was told it was taken by accident, that same shutter glitch triggered this picture. Amazing to think that they could transport these pictures to earth over the radio, no one had heard of the internet or a camera phone back then! He was given a 4′ x 2′ framed photo of this picture in 1966, it still hangs in his office. Great to learn about this work and to see these beautiful pictures being restored and shared!
    By late October Lunar Orbiter management had narrowed the reason behind Eastman Kodak’s failure to meet schedules to two hardware items: the shutter for the 60-mm-focal-length lens and the Velocity-over-Height (V/H) sensor. Both of these were being manufactured by a subcontractor to Eastman Kodak, Bolsey Associates, Inc.
    Emil Bolsey

  3. I worked a summer Job at Bolsey Associates as a QC tech in 1966 just before the first Lunar orbital shot. My late mother Theresa Pittaro who worked in the accounting department, got me the job. It was a great experience, assisting the talented engineering team that worked there. Although it was forty some years ago I remember an incident when we were leaving the lab and the camera shutter fired on it’s own, possibly triggered by the lights being turned off. That generated a lot of hasty activity. I’m not sure if the cause was found, as I went back to school soon after.

  4. My name is Tom Saban. I met Mr. Bolsey through my cousin Ljubo Saban in 1962. If my memory serves mi writhe, his name was Emil Bolsey. I visited with him in his laboratory. I think he was working on some precision camera shutters and I believe his condenser lances were already in production.
    If I am wrong. please disregard this note.
    Any way, Ljubo has died some time ago, and we lost contact with his wife. He sadly lost his son David to brain cancer, and Michael has no contact with anybody.
    Anyway, this is just a little walk along memory lanes. Of curse you don’t have to answer to letter. but I’d be werry happy to hear from you. Respectfully, Tom.

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