Apollo fans rejoice! Super-hi-res images coming!

By Phil Plait | August 1, 2007 9:23 am

Hot on the heels of the remastering of the Apollo movie footage comes the news that every photograph taken above and on the surface of the Moon is being rescanned digitally and made available to the public!

The work is being done at Arizona State University, and is headed up by Mark Robinson, who is, not-so-coincidentally, the Principal Investigator for LROC, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, the workhorse camera on the next NASA lunar probe. Over the next three years he and his team will be scanning in the original lunar photographs at high resolution (some are 1.3 Gb per picture, at 100-200 pixels per film millimeter!) and high contrast. They will be uploaded to a server, where people can then browse the images or download them. The orbiter images show objects as small as 40 or so meters across, better than you can get from any Earth-based telescope (including Hubble).

Only a few images are available at the moment, but yowza. They’re incredible. I tried getting a screen grab of one, but the only way to get it on the blog and allow slow internet connection users to see it meant way too much compression, making it look awful. You just have to go and look.

I can’t wait to see more! Of course, the downside means I’ll get emails every day from Hoaglandites saying they’ve found corkscrews and pipe cleaners and Lindsey Lohan’s ankle monitor. But that’ll be worth it to see these images in spectacular resolution. I’ve gone through hundreds — thousands — of decently hi-res images of the Moon for my first book and for the Moon Hoax debunkings I’ve done, and after a little while there is a wonderfully serene feeling that washes over you as you realize you’re seeing someone’s photographic diary of a visit to another world. It’s remarkable, and soon these new scans will make it an even easier and better experience for everyone.


Comments (30)

  1. L Ron Hubbub

    Wow. At the highest magnification I detected several giant hair-like objects. Whatever lives up there is shedding.

  2. It always amazes me that, in a place where the government is incapable of keeping secret the fact that the president was getting his end away with an ambitious intern, there are people who believe that same government could keep secret for nearly half a century an overarching conspiracy involving hundreds or thousands of people in at least two countries (let’s face it, if the moon landings were fake, the Soviets would certainly have known and have been itching to divulge that fact and embarrass the US).

    The level of rationalization and sheer ignorance involved is truly something to be looked at in awe.

  3. Kid Cool

    Wow these are impressive … they almost look real :) I have to admire NASA for putting so much detail into these “faked” photographs.

    On the other hand, I’ll definitely be looking for the evidence of the extinct lunar civilization that Hoagland claims exist. Some of those craters looked a little too round. Maybe those lunies had dome sports stadiums :)

  4. flak

    Do they have any shots from the sights of the actual lunar landings? WOuld be interesting to see if you could see the remains of the landers or the flag and whatnot…

  5. llewelly

    Kid Cool, the Lunar People are in fact intelligent craters. The nearly perfectly round craters are the most boring and staid members of their society. If you want to find the perpetrators of a conspiracy, you’re better off looking at the weirdos – the elongated craters and so forth.

  6. Instead of Apollo fans, the title should say “Fans of humanity”

  7. txjak

    Question for the knowledgable:

    Could any/some/most of the orbiter images be combined to provide stereo imagery?


  8. Encolpius

    You mean you DON’T see the pipe cleaners? What are you, blind?

  9. I don’t know, doesn’t the following image, for example ….


    … give an idea of how the images look ? The hires is not there, of course, but the context … the little map thumbnail, etc… immediately shows what’s going on. Anyone familiar with MRO will recognise the same flash interface as well.

    Never mind the Moon hoax people, let’s just revel in these images, and the video. Such an amazing event that even though it happened over 35 years ago, is STILL sinking in.


  10. Jeffrey Cornish

    What’s exciting to me regarding these initial images is the possibility of some awesome stereoscopic images.

    must download, crop, rotate 90 degrees….

  11. Supernova

    Awesome, but I wish the viewer on the website provided a scale. Does anyone know whether the downloaded images contain scale indicators?

  12. John Phillips

    WOW!!! I can see I am going to need a lot more storage space.

  13. “…see the remains of the landers or the flag and whatnot…”

    The best resolution you can get in the largest files is 8.8 meters per pixel. The landers were smaller than that. Even the astronauts who orbited in the command modules couldn’t really see them. (Once in a while they could catch a glint in the right spot, but that’s it.) We would need about a dozen times better resolution to make out any hardware, and about a hundred times better to see a flag.

  14. Great Britain had a probe circling the moon for like 2 years recently and no picture of a United States flag on the surface was ever revealed. Nobody was on the moon in 1969.

  15. Anyone notice that this picture of the earth is the exact same one Apple uses as one of its iPhone wallpapers?

  16. Irishman

    masonlumber, which probe was that?

  17. Hey, it’s now a reality to go for a walk on Moon!
    That’s great!

  18. Tom

    Way cool!
    I need to get a napkin, I just drooled down my chin and all over the front of my shirt.

  19. Ian

    Great Google Video Documentary : “A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Moon”. Check it out. Let’s get informed before we drool mindless drivel.

  20. CraigL

    I think I see Leela and Fry’s moon buggy sinking into the dust :-)

  21. jonathan

    Too bad they won’t let us see what is really there. They can determine what brand of cigarette Joe Schmoe smoked from a satellite image of him on earth. But they won’t give us anything of the moon. NASA and the powers to be are hiding the truth. To bad NASA does not serve the taxpayer.


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