Photo: Lunar Orbiter Press Conference at JPL

NASA Caption: “Lunar Orbiter press conference at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. A mockup of the solar-powered spacecraft (called the “Two-Eyed Robot”) is shown on the right. It was built by Boeing for the NASA Langley Research Center. From Edgar M. Cortright, “Scouting the Moon” in Apollo Expeditions to the Moon: “It was in its photo system that Orbiter was most unconventional. Other spacecraft took TV images and sent them back to Earth as electrical signals. Orbiter took photographs, developed them on board, and then scanned them with a special photoelectric system–a method that, for all its complications and limitations, could produce images of exceptional quality. One Orbiter camera could resolve details as small as 3 feet from an altitude of 30 nautical miles. A sample complication exacted by this performance: because slow film had to be used (because of risk of radiation fogging), slow shutter speeds were also needed. This meant that, to prevent blurring from spacecraft motion, a velocity-height sensor had to insure that the film was moved a tiny, precise, and compensatory amount during the instant of exposure.” Published in Edgar M. Cortright, “Scouting the Moon, ” in Apollo Expeditions to the Moon, ed. Edgar M. Cortright, (Washington: NASA SP-350, 1975), p. 93.” Larger image