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10 February 2014: We are excited to announce that the Astronomy Legacy Project was launched today! You can find it at We are fully committed to digitizing 120 years of photographic films and plates, placing this treasure in your hands. Help bring the past 120 years of the night sky into the future! Contribute what you can: donations are welcome, posts are welcome, tweets are welcome, and your expertise and encouragement are welcome! You become a part of the Astronomy Legacy Project Team with your contribution – part of a legacy itself for generations to come. Follow us on Twitter @remarkablestars.
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Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 11 February 2014

Dennis Wingo Status, end of day, February 11, 2014
Well, I notice that I did not do an update yesterday! It was a very frustrating day, with Scotch tapes, out of sequence numbering on tapes, and difficulties sorting things out. I still got 12 tapes done during the day, ending a G1-055.
That brought the number of remaining tapes down to 129.
Today has been a very good day! Got 25 tapes done today, ending in G1-080.
This brings us down to 104 tapes to go! I truly never thought we would get to this point!
Tomorrow I will finish up Goldstone and start immediately on the Madrid tapes. We are going to have a party when we finish LO-1 tapes!
I will post the image numbers tomorrow after we finish the Goldstone tapes and Ken does the adjusting to the machine for the Madrid tapes…..

Technoarchaeology: Bringing Colossus Back Online

Historic Colossus computer marks 70th anniversary, Gizmag
“In 1994, Tony Sale, co-founder of the National Museum of Computing, started the effort to rebuild Colossus. Based on bits of information released by the government starting in the 1970s, eight photographs of the original machines, and surviving circuit diagrams kept by engineers, a team managed to reconstruct the computer, which went operational at the museum on November 15, 2007, and on March 6, 2012, became the centerpiece of the Colossus gallery, where it is a working exhibit.”

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 7 February 2014

Dennis Wingo Status, end of day, Friday February 7th 2014.
Did not get a lot of tapes done today but I did get through G1-043. We had some tapes that were noisy (because of low signal strength at NASA Goldstone), and one with gaks (servo problems that we can’t fix as they were recorded into the tape or the tape has just aged badly).
So this brings the magic number down to….. drumroll…. 141 tapes to go!
Dennis Wingo Status, noon February 7th 2014
As promised here are the images captured since the last time I listed them.
W1-051, complete capture LOI-115M
W1-052, complete capture LOI-114M
W1-053, complete capture LOI-113M (also captured by W1-014)
W1-054, not captured, LOI-104M blank image
W1-055, complete capture LOI-102M (Earthrise medium des image)
W1-056, partial capture LOI-102H (101M is a blank image)
W1-057, complete capture LOI-101M, partial capture 102H
W1-058, complete capture LOI-089M
W1-059, complete capture LOI-088M
W1-060, complete capture LOI-087M
W1-061, complete capture LOI-086M
W1-062, complete capture LOI-074M
W1-063, complete capture LOI-073M
W1-064, complete capture LOI-072M
W1-065, complete capture LOI-071M
W1-066, complete capture LOI-056M
W1-067, complete capture LOI-055M
W1-068, complete capture LOI-054M
W1-069, complete capture LOI-053M
W1-070, partial capture LOI-041H, 040H, complete capture 039M
W1-071, partial capture LOI-040H, complete capture 038M
W1-072, partial capture LOI-038H, complete capture 037M
W1-073, partial capture LOI-038H, complete capture 036M
W1-074, complete capture LOI-023M
W1-075, partial capture LOI-021M
W1-076, partial capture LOI-021M (completes image) complete capture 020M
W1-077, complete capture LOI-019M
W1-078, complete capture LOI-007M
W1-079, complete capture LOI-006M, partial capture 006M (also partial capture by W1-001)
W1-080, partial capture LOI-005M (completes image)
W1-081, complete capture LOI-005H
W1-082, no image, test tape done two months after mission ended
W1-083, complete capture LOI-058 (noisy image)
W1-084, complete capture LOI-057 (noisy image)
Goldstone captures
G1-001, (missing tape)
G1-002, not captured dupe of W1-001
G1-003, (missing tape)
G1-004, (missing tape)
G1-005, not captured dupe of W1-004
G1-006, not captured dupe of W1-076
G1-007, not captured dupe of W1-006
G1-008, partial capture LOI-028M, 030H
G1-009, partial capture LOI-028M (completes image), complete capture, 029M
G1-010, not captured, no medium res image and smeared high res
G1-011, complete capture LOI-075M
G1-012, complete capture LOI-077M
G1-013, not captured dupe W1-009
G1-014, complete capture LOI-091M
G1-015, not captured dupe W1-055
G1-016, complete capture LOI-105M
G1-017, complete capture LOI-119M
G1-018, not captured dupe W1-015
G1-019, complete capture LOI-161M (also W1-037, 038)
G1-020, not captured dupe W1-031
G1-021, not captured dupe W1-019
G1-022, complete capture LOI-211M
G1-023, complete capture LOI-210M (noisy signal)
G1-024, complete capture LOI-209M (noisy signal)
G1-025, complete capture LOI-208M (very noisy signal)
G1-026, not captured no medium res image
G1-027, complete capture LOI-207M (very noisy signal)
G1-028, not captured no medium res image
G1-029, not captured dupe W1-019, 021)
G1-030, complete capture LOI-199M
As you can see, there is a major benefit in the way that I am recording the images now as it results in a reduction of duplication of captures. This saves us head life and processing life on the back end as well.
Back at it today but slowly as Ken had to replace some bearings on the capstan motors and we are really watching the head life. Unfortunately we have to run each of the Goldstone tapes at least a bit. For tapes G1-004-020 they did not put the sequence numbers on them, making it extremely difficult and time consuming to figure out what was on the tapes. These are also mostly Scotch brand tapes, which have major problems with head clogs.
And so it goes.

NASA Could Try To Contact ISEE-3/ICE – But It Won’t

From the ISEE-3 Returns Facebook page: Communication involves speaking, listening and understanding what we hear. One of the main technical challenges the ISEE-3/ICE project has faced is determining whether we can speak, listen, and understand the spacecraft and whether the spacecraft can do the same for us. Several months of digging through old technical documents has led a group of NASA engineers to believe they will indeed be able to understand the stream of data coming from the spacecraft.
NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN) can listen to the spacecraft, a test in 2008 proved that it was possible to pick up the transmitter carrier signal, but can we speak to the spacecraft? Can we tell the spacecraft to turn back on its thrusters and science instruments after decades of silence and perform the intricate ballet needed to send it back to where it can again monitor the Sun? The answer to that question appears to be no.
The transmitters of the Deep Space Network, the hardware to send signals out to the fleet of NASA spacecraft in deep space, no longer includes the equipment needed to talk to ISEE-3. These old-fashioned transmitters were removed in 1999. Could new transmitters be built? Yes, but it would be at a price no one is willing to spend. And we need to use the DSN because no other network of antennas in the US has the sensitivity to detect and transmit signals to the spacecraft at such a distance.
This effort has always been risky with a low probability of success and a near-zero budget. It is thanks to a small and dedicated group of scientists and engineers that we were able to get as far as we have. Thank you all very much.

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 6 February 2014

Dennis Wingo Status, February 6th, 2014
Another productive yet frustrating day. We had three tapes that had a lot of RF noise on them from the NASA ground station so three of the medium images today are going to be decidedly suboptimal.
Other than that we started the day with G1-009 and ended with G1-030. That is 22 tapes today!
My brain is too fried to put out the image numbers. I will do it in the morning before I start…
153 tapes to go!

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 5 February 2014

Dennis Wingo Lunar Orbiter Status, February 5, 2014
Well, we finished the Lunar Orbiter 1 Woomera tapes this morning. At the end there were a couple of test tapes and a couple of captures that were not recorded in any of the NASA documents. We were able to pinpoint which images they were though so we have completed the Woomera captures with an almost 100% capture rate for the medium images and just a few lost frame lets from the few high resolution images that we can make up with the other ground stations.
We started with the Goldstone captures today. The tapes G1-001, 003, and 004 are missing so those are not going to get captured obviously. Since we know very accurately what we have from Woomera we don’t have to do any repeat captures so we were able to eliminate G1-002, 004,5,6, and 007. We captured G1-008 so we got that far today.
I have recalculated how many tapes we have to go based on LO 1 tapes we have captured in the past and the total number of tapes left.
We now have 175 tapes to go!!

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 4 February 2014

Dennis Wingo Status, late afternoon February 4th, 2014
Well, I almost finished the Woomera tapes for LOI today. Made it through W1-80. Only one tape with images left as it seems that W1-82-84 are training tapes. Will be interesting to see what is on them though!
Will get the numbers out after I get back to work tomorrow. I am speaking at a Google Glass developers event tonight in San Francisco.

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 3 February 2014

Dennis Wingo Short status, February 3rd, 2014 evening.
Got through tape W1-068 today. That is 19 tapes today, bringing the total number of tapes left down to 219… Sixteen more to go to finish Woomera! I will post the tapes numbers and images in the morning….
Dennis Wingo Status, mid afternoon February 3, 2014
Just a few thoughts before the end of day status this evening. In January of 2014 we set a project record for tapes processed. We did 241 tapes in Jan. That is a LOT of tapes and we will never equal it because as of Friday, there were only 238 tapes left to go in the project!
Today we started with W1-049 and captured it again just in case as it is a spectacular image that we will be showing this week. Right now I am about to mount W1-060, meaning that this is the 11th tape of the day, bringing the total left to go down to 227. Since there are only 84 Woomera tapes in theory I will complete the last Woomera tapes of the project (except for cleanup).

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 31 January 2014

Dennis Wingo Lunar Orbiter Status, January 31, 2014.
Another productive day. Started out with W1-030 and ended with W1-049. That puts us more than half way through Woomera for LO-I!
We are going to have a couple of big surprises for you next week…
Here are the tapes done today and the images captured…
W1-030, complete capture LOI-189M
W1-031, complete capture LOI-190M
W1-032, complete capture LOI-178M
W1-033, complete capture LOI-177M
W1-034, complete capture LOI-175M
W1-035, complete capture LOI-176M
W1-036, complete capture LOI-162M
W1-037, complete capture LOI-161M, partial capture 160M
W1-038, partial capture LOI-160M completes image, complete capture 159M
W1-039, complete capture LOI-158M
W1-040, complete capture LOI-148M
W1-041, complete capture LOI-147M
W1-042, complete capture LOI-146M
W1-043, complete capture LOI-145M
W1-044, partial capture LOI-144M (completes images with W1-018)
W1-045, complete capture LOI-131M
W1-046, complete capture LOI-130M
W1-047, complete capture LOI-129M
W1-048, complete capture LOI-128M
W1-049, complete capture LOI-117M
Quite a run of tapes today, twenty in all! If I can do this every day, which is what I was hoping to be able to do, I can finish the Woomera captures and start on Goldstone this coming week.
The remaining tape count today is 238…

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 30 January 2014

Dennis Wingo Status, January 30, 2014, end of day.
Been a good day today! Finishing up tape W1-029 right now. This makes 16 tapes today. I finally figured out a system when capturing the medium resolution images and verifying that we are not missing a good high res image. I also figured out how to keep track of the frame lets for each medium res image and a way to enter it into one of our spreadsheets in a way that will make Austin happy. Here are the tapes and images captured today.
W1-014, complete capture LOI-113M
W1-015, complete capture LOI-121M
W1-016, complete capture LOI-123M
W1-017, complete capture LOI-125M
W1-018, complete capture LOI-144M
W1-019, partial capture LOI-204M,205M
W1-020, complete capture LOI-206M
W1-021, complete capture LOI-205M
W1-022, complete capture LOI-204M
W1-023, complete capture LOI-203M
W1-024, complete capture LOI-202M
W1-025, complete capture LOI-201M
W1-026, complete capture LOI-194M
W1-027, complete capture LOI-193M
W1-028, complete capture LOI-192M
W1-029, partial capture LO1-191M, complete capture 190M
Dropping 16 tapes off the list brings us down to 259 tapes to go. If the good lord willing and the head holds out I can finish Woomera before the end of next week…