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Repaired Data Drives Restoring the Moon

Nov 18, 2008, 13:05 (1 Talkback[s])

[ Thanks to An Anonymous Reader for this link. ]

"That astronauts landed safely and explored the surface meant that the Lunar Orbiters had done their job. With the Apollo program coming to a close and without a pressing need for the Lunar Orbiter data, NASA put the tapes into storage, first in Maryland and then in the mid-1980s they were moved to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

"That's where they came under the care of Nancy Evans, co-founder of the NASA Planetary Data System (PDS).

"Evans, working with Mark Nelson of Caltech, began a project to obtain surplus FR-900 tape drives, refurbish them, and digitize the Lunar Orbiter analog data on the tapes. They were successful in so much that they were able to obtain the tape drives and get them running, but without funding the project folded.

"By the early 1990s, Evans had retired from JPL, taking with her the government-surplused drives in the hope of finding private funding to continue the project she began."

Imagine doing something like 43 years from now-- will a project like this die because of DRM? Will repairing the hardware violate the DMCA? Will we finally have open, standard formats? The restored lunar images will be freely available to view-- will contemporary works survive all the tollgates and barriers to be freely available ever?-- ed.

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