Copernicus Crater Floor Mosaic. One of the later Apollo missions was originally planned to land inside Copernicus crater. The last three Apollo missions were eventually canceled. Credit: LOIRP

The Lunar Orbiter Recovery Project based at Moffett Field CA has produced a phenomenal mosaic of the Copernicus crater floor. The mosaic was created by combining 24 high resolution images taken by Lunar Orbiter V on 16 August 1967.

The full resolution image is 24 GIGABYTES and is one of the largest images of planetary data ever put together into one mosaic. If it were blown up to full size at 300 DPI it would be 37 feet wide by 18 feet tall!

About LOIRP: The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project based at NASA Ames Research Center is a sort of archeology of the digital age, or “techno-archeology” as the team calls it. They have 1,478 tape canisters from NASA’s unmanned Lunar Orbiter moon missions in 1966 and 1967. The images were used to map NASA’s 1969 moon landing but were set to be destroyed when LOIRP lead Dennis Wingo and his partners rescued them in 2007. There are 48,000 pounds of film — the entire moon in 900 billboard size photos taken by the unmanned Lunar Orbiter spacecraft. Acting as something akin to a mini-Fotomat and TV station, the orbiter took Polaroid-like photos of the moon, scanned them and beamed them back to one of three stations on Earth where they were recoded on film.

Not only did the team figure out how to get the images off the film, it turned out that the 1966 images of the moon’s surface, once digitally remastered, were of exceptional quality, comparable to NASA’s most recent images of the moon.

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Posted by: Soderman/NLSI Staff

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