free apollo images
Project Free the Apollo Images
*See update below for
The fact is self
evident that no matter how much care is taken via whatever cold room and/or
other analog storing techniques, as long as the Apollo photos stay on film
and are taken out for reproduction every so often they are subject to
degradation. After 30+ years of storage the Apollo missions and their
photographic richness are fading away towards obscurity. Given the state of
modern imaging technology, it is now imperatively time these were digitally
preserved in best remaining original quality. It is the goal of Project Free
the Apollo Images to help make this a reality
This effort would serve three main purposes,
In added benefit this would allow for wider scientific and
educational access, along with the chance for a whole new generation of
Americans to discover without a doubt and through their own observational
experience that we did in fact go to the moon. Let's do a little bean
1. Faithful preservation of priceless history in lossless and
replicable digital, compatible with modern photographic print technology and
displayable on the internet.
2. It will allow the data to take its deserved place in the PDS.
3. The fullness of the Apollo mission photography will be made
accessible to the public, which isn't the case at present.
Better is deserved of Apollo
Apollo Mission Photography
The Apollo Lunar image collection consists of the following.
Hasselblad handheld photography
- color and b/w - common to
Apollo 8: 860 photos, fewer than 30 are digitized
Apollo 10: 1319 photos, fewer than 40.
Apollo 11: 1403 photos, fewer than 60.
Apollo 12: 1585 photos, fewer than 40.
Apollo 13: 585 photos, fewer than 20
Apollo 14: 1273 photos, fewer than 40.
Apollo 15: 2524 photos, fewer than 90.
Apollo 16: 2851 photos, fewer than 50.
Apollo 17: 3606 photos, fewer than 80.
~Out of the 16006 Hasselblad photos, fewer than 450 are
Metric and Panoramic photography - common only
to Apollo 15, 16, and 17 -
Apollo 15: Metric: 2546 photos, fewer than 30 are
Panoramic: 1531 photos, fewer than 50. (**)
Apollo 16: Metric: 1938 photos, fewer than 30.
Panoramic: 1596 photos, fewer than 30. (**)
Apollo 17: Metric: 1938 photos, fewer than 30.
Panoramic: 1529 photos, fewer than 30. (**)
(** due to total size of the Pan images, most of these are
sectional crops from the larger parent photos)
~Out of the 11078 Metric and Panoramic photos, fewer than
200 are digitized faithfully~
Of the 27084 total mission photographs, fewer than 650 are
Support craft photography
Rangers 7,8,9 - approx 17,000 orbitals
Surveyors 3,5,6,7 - approx 850 surface photos
Lunar Orbiters 1-5 - Approx 3000 orbitals
~Of the 20,850 support craft photos, fewer than 700 are
Of these, ony the Lunar Orbiter images are fairly
represented at LPI's Lunar Orbiter Digital Atlas, though incomplete and much
smaller and lower resolution than original format. The rest of this
photography is virtually absent, with perhaps one or two representatives
accessible. This is an important ancillary point, but our main drive should be
the Apollo Mission Photography.
(Note: LPI has nearly all the Hasselblad images online, but
displayed in very low resolution, a result of some terribly questionable
overprocessing. JSC's digital image collection has far fewer images, and they
are also of low quality. The ALSJ has many good representatives, but in itself
is far from hitting the mark of excellence this data deserves. If not for the
few high quality images obtained and scanned by certain individuals willing to
invest themselves there would be few available indeed.)
~Of the 47,934 total
mission photographs, less than 1350 are faithful digital reproductions.~
This means that very
little over 2% of this photography has ever been seen by the public, which is
We have far over 700,000 planetary images online for viewing,
readily available at very little to no private cost to access. The largest
portion of these are big, brash, and beautiful... yet Apollo seems to sit away
in a back drawer, slowly fading away while being represented by a poor and for
the most part inadequately reproduced 2% selection of representatives.
It is possible to visit any RPIF and peruse these photos,
and they can be ordered for a price from the NSSDC. This gives a semblance of
accessibility, but in actuality is not much of an option. Few even among
enthusiasts will ever get to work an appropriately decent RPIF visit into
their lives. Fewer still will ever be able to afford buying them, even a few
at a time (as if they should have to). That said, let's see how much it would
cost were it possible.
Projected price of obtaining Apollo mission
photographic collection given current pricing estimate:
Hasselblads: 16006 @ $8 = $128,048
Metrics: 6422 @ $8 = $ 51,376
Panoramics: 4656 @ $54 = $251,424
Staff fee $35 per hr- 27,084 images @ 5 min each =
2257 hrs. @ $35 = $ 78,995
Total est. cost $509,843!
This just covers the cost of obtaining the data through
present methods, excludes the other support data, and is probably a lowball
estimate. It is also the reason why the public cannot have access to this
large and fantastic body of knowledge
Who in their right mind would pay this for a piece of our
heritage already well paid for? We must rectify this situation and do what is right. High quality digitization to NARA standards would
offer ready access of the imagery to it's only owners. Our citizens. It would
be nice to have the help and cooperation of NASA. All assistance in this
matter will be welcomed and recognized
Perhaps it should be mentioned that the largest collections
of quality Apollo image reproductions are being performed and maintained at
personal cost by private citizens such as myself and Kipp Teague. All combined these are
still a tiny fraction compared to the
total volume of what's not available. We need to do this before it's later than we thought,
and the original photography is degraded beyond a point for which there's no bringing them back
If you support freeing the Apollo images, please do
not sit idly by waiting for anyone else to do it for you, send an email
voicing your support to me here, Keith Laney and I will
forward it to the proper people and agencies that could make this a
reality. Thank you, and enjoy my collection of wonderful lunar
It appears that once again, we ask, and they deliver.
After years of lobbying by this program and with the support of many
others independently, The Lunar and Planetary Institute, in cooperation
with Arizona State University and Johnson Space Center, is pulling the
original Apollo films out of cold storage and scanning them using the
latest digital imaging technology, and will be archiving them online in
stunningly fresh full resolution beauty, accessible to all!
They will be archived here when the job's complete
but for now peruse their few example Metric images
The Apollo Image Archive