Like to see the very first picture of the Earth from the moon? Or how about a hand-crafted mosaic of images from Voyager 1′s 1979 flyby of Jupiter’s moon Io? A selection of rare space pix that have never been available in hi-resolution are now online courtesy of the University College London (UCL) based in London, England.
Included among the gems are photos from the Soviet Venus landers, a cool hand-drawn moon map from 1910 and original prints and data from the Viking 1 and Mariner 9 probes that orbited Mars back in the 1970s. My favorite is the re-processed photo of Earth from the moon. The old scan lines from the Lunar Orbiter photos have been removed and contrast and resolution increased. What can I say? Stunning.
All the pictures have been published as part of the Festival of the Planets celebrating the European Planetary Science Congress happening in London from Sept. 8-13. Before the Internet became the preferred way of sharing scientific data, NASA shipped hardcopies of high-resolution images to institutions in the U.S. and abroad including UCL.
In a classic Disney-like move, the University opened up its “vault” to share archived vintage space photos from NASA and other agencies. Have a look for yourself HERE. The small selection whets my appetite for more. Let’s hope they share additional photos in the future.