free apollo images

Project Free the Apollo Images

*See update below for wonderful news!*

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,

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
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 counting.
Apollo Mission Photography
The Apollo Lunar image collection consists of the following.

Hasselblad handheld photography
- color and b/w - common to all missions
Apollo 8: 860 photos, fewer than 30 are digitized faithfully.
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 digitized faithfully~

Metric and Panoramic photography - common only to Apollo 15, 16, and 17 -
Apollo 15: Metric: 2546 photos, fewer than 30 are digitized faithfully 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 digitized faithfully.

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 digitized faithfully~
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 unacceptable.
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 images.

Apollo Orbital Images

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