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Almost 40 years ago ..

 
 
Alan Browne
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      06-08-2005

Last night, drowsily watching Discovery's "Daily Planet", there was
mention of a project to digitize photos made of the moon 40 years ago by
two satellites launched in the 60's prior to (and in preparation for)
the Apollo missions.

The satellites orbitted at quite low altitude and phtographed the
surface on B&W 70mm film. Photos were shot when the sun would create
fairly good detail (shaddows)

The film was developed on board the satellite.

Scanned on the satellite.

Transmitted to earth using a facsimile like protocol.

and printed on film again (they showed 35mm strips with a fairly wide
border area). The detail shown was quite crisp (they zoomed in close to
the frames).

These are now being digitized ... in preparation for return to the moon
missions (unmanned in near term and manned around 2020).

Cheers,
Alan.

Further ref:
http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/enc...er_program.htm


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Peter Chant
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      06-08-2005
Alan Browne wrote:

>
> Transmitted to earth using a facsimile like protocol.


I wonder if they have the tapes of the transmission. If they have not
degraded then it would be one step nearer the original source.


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Paul Mitchum
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      06-09-2005
Alan Browne <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> Last night, drowsily watching Discovery's "Daily Planet", there was
> mention of a project to digitize photos made of the moon 40 years ago by
> two satellites launched in the 60's prior to (and in preparation for)
> the Apollo missions.
>
> The satellites orbitted at quite low altitude and phtographed the
> surface on B&W 70mm film. Photos were shot when the sun would create
> fairly good detail (shaddows)
>
> The film was developed on board the satellite.
>
> Scanned on the satellite.
>
> Transmitted to earth using a facsimile like protocol.
>
> and printed on film again (they showed 35mm strips with a fairly wide
> border area). The detail shown was quite crisp (they zoomed in close to
> the frames).
>
> These are now being digitized ... in preparation for return to the moon
> missions (unmanned in near term and manned around 2020).
>
> Cheers,
> Alan.
>
> Further ref:
> http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/enc...er_program.htm


Similar technologies were used by soviet probes to send back a color
photo of the surface of Venus. This was in the 80s.

I remember reading about it not too long ago, but can't find the link...
Someone was developing software to post-process the fax-like signals
used to transmit the images, which had been recorded on magnetic tape.
This of course led to a much higher-rez final image than had been
previously possible.

Here's the original:
<http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/imgcat/html/object_page/v13_vg261_262.html>
 
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Michael Meissner
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      06-10-2005
Peter Chant <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

> Alan Browne wrote:
>
> >
> > Transmitted to earth using a facsimile like protocol.

>
> I wonder if they have the tapes of the transmission. If they have not
> degraded then it would be one step nearer the original source.


(I'm widening the followups to include rec.photo.digital, since I don't read
the 35mm equipment group).

It is mentioned every so often when computer archiving is mentioned that NASA
has roomfuls of tapes from the early space era that are becoming unreadable.
Part of this is the media is well past its lifetime and is decaying. Another
part of this is the tapes are presumably the old 7-bit tape drives common to
machines of the era, and there are few working tape drive readers left extant
(when I started in computers in 1979, the industry had moved to the 9-bit
drives at 800, 1600, and later 6250bpi). Even if the media were readable, and
you could find the last 2-3 tape drives in the world to read the tapes, the
final problem is budget -- it costs quite a lot of money to keep the antiques
in working order, and Nasa's budget has been chopped quite a bit in the last
few years.

Bringing us back to the present, if you want to preserve your pictures for a
long time, you to plan for ongoing archival and re-archival of your pictures.
In the digital world, you probably should think about every 5 years or so
recopying all of your pictures to the newest media when you to get to
transition states between different media. For the film world, bear in mind
that inks and dyes also have a finite lifetime, and you need to think about
scanning in your pictures, and then archiving them like digital. However, that
being said, most pictures aren't worth the effort to archive long term
(obviously some are worth saving). How long do you really need to keep the
5,346th picture of your cat doing something silly?

--
Michael Meissner
email: http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed)
http://www.the-meissners.org
 
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Geoffrey S. Mendelson
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      06-10-2005
In article <(E-Mail Removed)-meissners.org>, Michael Meissner wrote:

.....
> part of this is the tapes are presumably the old 7-bit tape drives common to
> machines of the era, and there are few working tape drive readers left extant


As far back as the mid '90s NASA found that they had no drives to read the
tapes. I know they found engineering drawings for the drives and had
considered making them, but I have no idea how things turned out.

Not only would they have have problems making the drives, but they would
have to interface them to "modern" computers.

Geoff.

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See U.S. patent applications 20050108591, 20050107165.
 
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Big Bill
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      06-10-2005
On Fri, 10 Jun 2005 13:46:01 +0000 (UTC), (E-Mail Removed) (Geoffrey
S. Mendelson) wrote:

>In article <(E-Mail Removed)-meissners.org>, Michael Meissner wrote:
>
>....
>> part of this is the tapes are presumably the old 7-bit tape drives common to
>> machines of the era, and there are few working tape drive readers left extant

>
>As far back as the mid '90s NASA found that they had no drives to read the
>tapes. I know they found engineering drawings for the drives and had
>considered making them, but I have no idea how things turned out.
>
>Not only would they have have problems making the drives, but they would
>have to interface them to "modern" computers.
>
>Geoff.


AIUI, NASAwas able to find the drives they needed; they hadn't
scrapped the drives, but sold them, and they just bought a few back.

As well, a quick romp with Google shows there are several firms that
boast of being able to recover such data.


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Replace "g" with "a"
 
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Father Kodak
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      06-15-2005
On Fri, 10 Jun 2005 10:38:14 -0700, Big Bill <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:

>On Fri, 10 Jun 2005 13:46:01 +0000 (UTC), (E-Mail Removed) (Geoffrey
>S. Mendelson) wrote:
>
>>In article <(E-Mail Removed)-meissners.org>, Michael Meissner wrote:
>>
>>....
>>> part of this is the tapes are presumably the old 7-bit tape drives common to
>>> machines of the era, and there are few working tape drive readers left extant

>>
>>As far back as the mid '90s NASA found that they had no drives to read the
>>tapes. I know they found engineering drawings for the drives and had
>>considered making them, but I have no idea how things turned out.
>>
>>Not only would they have have problems making the drives, but they would
>>have to interface them to "modern" computers.
>>
>>Geoff.

>
>AIUI, NASAwas able to find the drives they needed; they hadn't
>scrapped the drives, but sold them, and they just bought a few back.
>
>As well, a quick romp with Google shows there are several firms that
>boast of being able to recover such data.


I _believe_ that such firms specialize in obscure data formats and/or
corrupted data files. However, in NASA's case, the tapes are probably
physically deteriorating. I forget the exact term, but as tapes age,
they give off a "vinegary" smell. Up to some point, the tapes are be
"reconditioned," but after that, the magnetic material no longer
adheres very well to the underlying film.

My wife is a librarian and somewhat knowledgeable in archival issues
for non-book materials, including photos, mag tape (music, TV, and
data), etc.

Father Kodak

 
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