We’ve been admiring a multitude of images from some of NASA’s most recognizable missions. Curiosity’s stroll on Mars is peppered with a collection of incredible images.
Historic images of Pluto and its moons have been flooding the world wide web. New technology peers in the depth of the universe and brings us stunning images of galaxies, exoplanets and other celestial bodies. The crew aboard the International Space Station is documenting every step they take in images.
But what of the previous decades of the space race? Now, we can experience those as well, in much greater detail than ever before.
Project Apollo archive is up and running on Flickr, where over 12,200 images of the Apollo missions are bound to leave us breathless. The private project took to Flickr on Friday to give the world a present: NASA’s missions to the moon in high-resolution images, like we’ve never imagined before.
The Project Apollo Archive started back in 1999. Yet, in 2004 it received a fantastic boost when the Johnson Space Center began the process of re-scanning the Apollo Hasseelblad camera film magazines and converted them into high-resolution, uncompressed images that are now publicly available.
Kipp Teague, the initiator and curator of the Project Apollo Archive explained:
“These images were processed for inclusion on our websites, including adjusting color and brightness levels, and reducing the images in size to about 1,000 dpi for the high-resolution versions”.
At the time when the first Apollo mission was carried, space photography was already gaining ground. Space photography wasn’t necessary solely for mission planning. It was also necessary to document a profound and unique experience, that of being in space and looking at our home planet from afar.
Back then, among the first photographing equipment sent in space with the Apollo astronauts was the Hasselblad camera. The two Mercury missions that had their own Hasselblad camera led to each astronaut aboard being equipped with one. The results were astonishing, as you will see for yourselves once you check out the Flickr page and associated Facebook account. Sadly, the majority were left unpublished.
Once the Apollo 8 mission was planned, the photographic equipment switched to electric Hasselblad 500EL cameras. The astronauts also learned how to be state-of-the-art photographers. Setting the distance, setting the shutter speed and the lens aperture was at their own pleasure.
The camera would expose and wind the film, as well as tension the shutter. The astronauts would also carry seven magazines of 70mm film. One film could capture 160 color photographs. Or 200 black and white photographs. The Apollo 8 mission astronauts came back from their journey with a total of 1,100 photographs.
And that is just a small part of the wonders and jewels of the space race photography.
Photo Credits: sciencealert.com