Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP)
The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP), based at NASA Ames Research Center, has undertaken the task of translating the original analog data from 1,500 tapes taken from the Lunar Orbiter spacecraft into digital form. The Lunar Orbiter images were taken in the 1960s by cameras onboard five separate Lunar Orbiter spacecraft. They were captured on magnetic tapes and then transferred to film for analysis. Unfortunately, the full resolution of those images was not available because the technology didn’t exist to extract it all. Thankfully, the tapes were saved from destruction decades ago by Nancy Evans, co-creator of the Planetary Data System. Now the digitized LOIRP images, which are the highest-resolution taken of the lunar surface to date, can finally be analyzed.
LOIRP, the brainchild of Dennis Wingo and Keith Cowing, has faced many challenges, including resurrecting antiquated equipment and image processing techniques.