Restoring Instant Analog Photographic Technology

The five Lunar Orbiter missions took photographs of the Moon and processed them – on film – in lunar orbit – via a chemical process developed by Eastman Kodak – one that is somewhat similar to Polaroid’s instant film products. The developed images were scanned and sent back to Earth and stored as analog data. After the missions were completed the tapes and rives were stored and then forgotten. A generation later, in 2008, the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) re-engineered the original tape drives and re-processed the original mission analog data tapes – using 21st Century processing capabilities to produce dramatically enhanced versions of these iconic and historic images. We wholeheartedly believe that there are new things than can be learned from old stuff. As such, when we learned of this effort to save – and continue – the Polaroid analog image process (Kodak’s competitor), well, we had to support it.
According to Wikipedia:
“Polaroid Corporation is an American-based international consumer electronics and eyewear company, originally founded in 1937 by Edwin H. Land. It is most famous for its instant film cameras, which reached the market in 1948, and continued to be the company’s flagship product line until the February 2008 decision to cease all production in favor of digital photography products.[1] The company’s original dominant market was in polarized sunglasses, an outgrowth of Land’s self-guided research in polarization after leaving Harvard University after his freshman year—he later returned to Harvard to continue his research.”
According to the project’s website:
“We’re always dreaming about making the impossible possible and lately we can’t stop thinking about a new Impossible camera. We envision a high quality camera that is optimized to make the best out of our new, constantly improving film materials.
Therefore we have now started the Impossible Camera Project. Together with a small team of real analog camera experts, amongst others long time Polaroid camera expert Henny Waanders, we are currently evaluating and researching all possible and impossible possibilities regarding the production of a new analog instant camera.
Our idol is the legendary Polaroid SX 70 camera. Discontinued more than 30 years ago, this Polaroid cam is one of the most wanted instant cameras worldwide. The reasons are obvious: the high quality lens combined with the revolutionary folding design and the premium materials are simply irresistible. In 1972 this camera was simply the revolution and it changed the world of photography taking hearts in storm. Since today the SX-70 has not lost anything of its magic and it is still our hero as well as inspiration in all undertaking towards an Impossible camera.
Stay tuned to learn more as soon as things evolve.”

According to ITT (which bought Kodak):
“Photos were processed automatically by the Orbiter’s photographic system as the spacecraft orbited the Moon’s dark side. This operation was performed by a KODAK BITMAT diffusion transfer process using ‘dry’ chemistry. A high-intensity light beam then optically scanned the photographic prints, and the images were transmitted to receiving stations on Earth.”
Additional information

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 TV Image of Mars From Mariner IV in 1964 – Hand Colored

A ‘real-time data translator’ machine converted a Mariner 4 digital image data into numbers printed on strips of paper. Too anxious to wait for the official processed image, employees from the Voyager Telecommunications Section at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, attached these strips side by side to a display panel and hand colored the numbers like a paint-by-numbers picture. More.

Looking Back at 50 Year Old Astrobiology Data

“In the years since Miller’s initial experiments, scientists have come to believe that the atmosphere of primitive Earth wasn’t made up of the same gases that he used in his initial study. But volcanic eruptions were likely very common during the early history of the planet and these volcanoes could have emitted clouds rich in hydrogen, methane and H2S, which would create conditions similar to Miller’s experiments in limited geographic areas. The spark could have been supplied by lightning, which is commonly associated with volcanic clouds.” More

Technoarchaeology: Where is the True “First” Picture taken by Tiros 1?

The NASA Goddard Library TIROS-1 Photographic Atlas Collection of Weather Photos from Space and the “First” Weather Image
91st American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting
Wednesday, 26 January 2011: 4:15 PM
304 (Washington State Convention Center)
Gene Major, Library Associates, NASA/GSFC Library, Lanham, MD
TIROS 1, the Television Infra-Red Observation Satellite, was launched 50 years ago on April 1, 1960 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It was the first satellite designed to observe clouds from space and is the precursor to dozens of meteorological operational and research satellites. TIROS only lasted 3 months, but it made 1,392 orbits and took nearly 23,000 pictures. The NASA Goddard Library has a rare and unique collection of 26 bound volumes of TIROS 1 photography prepared by the Navy in 1961 specifically for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. This talk will highlight the collection, attempts contemplated to preserve it, and revelations that the “first” image from TIROS, widely distributed around the internet (and even by NOAA and NASA), was not the first photo, nor even taken on the first day of operations!

Analyzing Old NASA Apollo Seismometer Data Reveals That The Moon Has An Earth-Like Core

State-of-the-art seismological techniques applied to Apollo-era data suggest our moon has a core similar to Earth’s. Uncovering details about the lunar core is critical for developing accurate models of the moon’s formation. The data sheds light on the evolution of a lunar dynamo — a natural process by which our moon may have generated and maintained its own strong magnetic field.
The team’s findings suggest the moon possesses a solid, iron-rich inner core with a radius of nearly 150 miles and a fluid, primarily liquid-iron outer core with a radius of roughly 205 miles. Where it differs from Earth is a partially molten boundary layer around the core estimated to have a radius of nearly 300 miles. The research indicates the core contains a small percentage of light elements such as sulfur, echoing new seismology research on Earth that suggests the presence of light elements — such as sulfur and oxygen — in a layer around our own core.
Image; A partial view of the Apollo 16 Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP) in deployed configuration on the lunar surface as photographed during the mission’s first extravehicular activity (EVA-1), on April 21, 1972. The Passive Seismic Experiment (PSE) is in the foreground center; Central Station (C/S) is in center background, with the Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) to the left. One of the anchor flags for the Active Seismic Experiment (ASE) is at right. high res (1.5 M) low res (116 K)

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Extreme NASA Technoarchaeology

Israel to put Dead Sea scrolls online, AFP
“The Dead Sea scrolls, containing some of the oldest-known surviving biblical texts, are to go online as part of a collaboration between Israeli antiquities authorities and Google, developers said on Tuesday. The 3.5 million dollar (2.5 million euro) project by the Israeli Antiquities Authority and the Internet giant’s local R&D division aims to use space-age technology to produce the clearest renderings yet of the ancient scrolls and make them available free of charge to the public. “This is the most important discovery of the 20th century, and we will be sharing it with the most advanced technology of the next century,” IAA project director Pnina Shor told reporters in Jerusalem. The IAA will begin by using multi-spectral imaging technology developed by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration to produce high-resolution images of the sometimes-faded texts that may reveal new letters and words.”

Technoarchaeology: Nimbus and LOIRP

NASA Solicitation: Retrieval of Nimbus Observational Data
“NASA/GSFC intends to purchase the items from HOV Services, LLC. Two types of high-end photo scanners are required to scan Nimbus film data: the first must be equivalent to the Leica air photo scanners used to scan NASA’s Heat Capacity mapping Mission frames for the CDMP. Nimbus film was processed on similar devices as HCMM film. The Second is a film scanner normally used for scanning medical X-rays. This type of device is needed to digitize the longer (i.e., 21″) film scenes at 600 dpi. This film is similar to the old B&W satellite film from Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. The facilities need to be located within 50 miles of the NASA’s film archive at GSFC and WNRC. This allows for Government inspection of the scanning and indexing process and ensures the per-image shipping costs are at a minimum with respect to the per-image scanning costs. HOV Services has unique experience in configuring both scanners needed for NASA-type film archives, scanning and indexing all of the NASA film from HCMM mission as part of the NOAA Climate Data Modernization Program (CDMP). NOAA CDMP has partnered with HOV Services since 1999 to digitize and index Defense Meteorological Satellite film records that are from the same era as the Nimbus Film records.”
Nimbus II and Lunar Orbiter 1 Imagery: A New Look at Earth in 1966
National Snow and Ice Data Center on LOIRP
LOIRP Aids In Finding Google Earth Images from 1966
Dumpster Diving for Science