"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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