The Apollo Photos
October 2, 2015 6:47 PM   Subscribe

The Project Apollo Archive has uploaded to Flickr all photographs taken by the Apollo missions to the moon (Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17).

Photographs are organized by the roll of film they were shot on, and total over 8400 images. They are unprocessed Hasseblad images.

Mother Jones has already found some favourite images.
posted by nubs (36 comments total) 68 users marked this as a favorite
 
Stellar!
posted by growabrain at 6:51 PM on October 2, 2015


Anyway to search this archive?

My brother was an engineer who worked on the Apollo for many years but I don't know how to begin looking for his name.

Thanks.
posted by Tullyogallaghan at 7:02 PM on October 2, 2015


Ha! Was just coming to post this. Here's the short story behind the rescanning and uploading.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:08 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


But check out the photos, there's crazy amounts of detail in them!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:09 PM on October 2, 2015


Tullyogallaghan, it doesn't look like the photos have been tagged or had names of people pictured added to them; if there's any metadata like that I'm not seeing it.

And they've just put up a Magazine from Apollo 8, so there might be more to come.
posted by nubs at 7:09 PM on October 2, 2015


Infinite desktops!
posted by Thorzdad at 8:21 PM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


After a long and heavy week of tragedy, this is exactly what I needed to see. It may not be a pale blue dot, but these photos are a great reminder that political posturing, international discord, war, terrorism, and mass shootings can't be seen from so far away.

"It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known." - Carl Sagan
posted by zooropa at 8:27 PM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Brown University had a geology department researching the moon, and as part of their data they had a full set of all 16mm film shot in space or on the moon, camera reels with the loading flashes, silent, no editing. I was a film student at the time and they couldn't get much geology from the films so they gave me the whole set.

Really great experimental film making. They shot at 8 frames per second to save film so there's the sped up quality, but on the other hand, pretty much nothing happened in most of the reels, so that balanced it out.

Typical 20 minute show: A camera is pointed out a window in the craft, some jerking around while the position is set, then just a black window sitting there, with the very occasional and dim stray reflection of a glove or something, ending in a huge lens flare when the sun rotates in.

And there was a mountain of these silent reels. Made for a fun watching marathon, a far beyond modern aesthetic, minimalist, performance, conceptual. Every once in a long while something happened, like landing on the moon.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:59 PM on October 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


But check out the photos, there's crazy amounts of detail in them!

And a lot of them are just plain bad!

The astronauts didn't meter or have a viewfinder. They had fixed settings, depending on which way the sun was, printed on a label of every magazine. In general, they only changed the aperture, and the difference in films was made up for with the aperture.

Several shots needed to be wound off after loading, because they couldn't install the magazines with the darkslides in and then remove them -- not enough dexterity with the gloves on. So, they'd remove the dark slide, install the mag, and then fire off 5 shots. You'll see some light struck pictures because of this.

To aim? They pointed and prayed. This worked well with the 60mm lenses, but the 500mm telephoto had some real issues -- though they do get a number of good shots with it handheld. Usually, the camera was mounted on the RCU of the lunar suit, so they would just point their whole body and pull the trigger.

And let's not forget the dust. It was everywhere, it was incredibly fine, and it stuck to everything, including the cameras.

The cameras were Haselblad 500EL, in silver rather than normal black. They had extended magazines, a handle added with a much larger shutter trigger, and the bracket to connect to the RCU on the suit. A Rousseau plate was installed, which is why you have those cross marks on the images, though the camera in the CSM often didn't have one. You can tell the CSM cameras from the LM cameras -- the CSM cameras were finished in normal black, since they wouldn't experience direct sunlight in a vacuum. NASA fabricated the bracket to the RCU, everything else was normal options for the camera, other than the silver finish. Hasselblad and NASA opticians did carefully align and characterize each lens, to help with photometry work after the landing.

The astronauts did spend a fair amount of time in training, in suits, learning how to handle the cameras -- but they had a lot to do and little dexterity to do it with. So the rule was take the shot and move on. So, a number of them are really bad.

But a number of them are absolutely fantastic.
posted by eriko at 9:25 PM on October 2, 2015 [23 favorites]


Oh, the ID numbers. AS is "Apollo/Saturn", the next number is the mission number, the last is sequential through *all* of the photos taken in the Apollo program, in space and on the moon, from Apollo 7 through 17. They were assigned as they went into the catalog, so the numbers don't perfectly reflect the order the images were taken.

Mother Jones missed possibly the most moving photo taken, AS08-14-2383.

You'll know it when you see it (but you'll want to rotate it 90° clockwise.)
posted by eriko at 9:32 PM on October 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


Apollo 13 "Damaged Service Module".
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:46 PM on October 2, 2015


I like the final Mother Jones selection. It's an Astronaut Selfie with the earth behind him. Slightly prophetic, in a way. I would love to know which astronaut it was.
posted by Brodiggitty at 9:46 PM on October 2, 2015


I'm always amazed at the continuing payoff this investment in adventuring past our frontiers brings.

And in a way, it makes me sad.

***HERE*** is what we, as People ***CAN DO***!!!

We're not doing it. There are many reasons, but I'll just go with the low hanging fruit, and say "Fuck you Richard Nixon. Fuck You", while acknowledging that Nixon was also just a symptom, and not the disease...
posted by mikelieman at 11:31 PM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Hey, and if someone can get a memo to Ron Howard's people, we need him to do the rest of the Apollo movies. No-one else can tell the story the way it needs to be told. Thanking you in advance. Take care.
posted by mikelieman at 11:34 PM on October 2, 2015


And a lot of them are just plain bad!

I also expect it would be hard to take a good photo with these things going off in your eyeballs every 2.9 minutes.
posted by nat at 12:32 AM on October 3, 2015


Stellar!

Nope.... the other one.
posted by rokusan at 1:38 AM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Mother Jones missed possibly the most moving photo taken, AS08-14-2383.

You'll know it when you see it (but you'll want to rotate it 90° clockwise.)"


Here it is -- adjusted, rotated, cropped, and sized to 1920x1080. I lazily just used Photoshop's automatic color/tone/contrast and it surprisingly (or unsurprisingly, maybe) came out just right as far as I'm concerned.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:20 AM on October 3, 2015 [9 favorites]


But check out the photos, there's crazy amounts of detail in them!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:09 PM on October 2
[+] [!]


Which is especially impressive considering they were all done on a soundstage in Area 51!
posted by From Bklyn at 5:55 AM on October 3, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm sorry but I don't believe a single one of those photos were taken on the moon. NASA faked the moon landings. There's just too many things wrong with these pics, the videos and the astronauts' testimonies. Stanley Kubrick helped fake the footage of the Apollo 11 'landing' and then left clues in The Shining for all the world to see. It makes my head spin to think that all these years later people still haven't woken up to the truth.
posted by Monkeymoo at 6:22 AM on October 3, 2015


Shut your lying pie hole.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:23 AM on October 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Totally faked. So obvious.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:28 AM on October 3, 2015


Here it is -- adjusted, rotated, cropped, and sized to 1920x1080.

Thanks - just became my new desktop background.
posted by COD at 6:54 AM on October 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


There is an interesting aspect to the "it was all fake" bullshit that makes me wonder if landing on Mars will have conspiracy theorists.

Because the Moon has no atmosphere, dust and line of sight behave differently than what people who have lived their entire lives in an atmosphere expect. Dust kicked up by the descent engine, doesn't billow and linger much, it just shoots straight out and then falls once the engines stop. With no atmosphere, it's hard to gauge how far away distant objects are. And lets not forget those strangely moving moon walkers. I suspect all of that leads some people to think, either consciously or not, that it all just looks to weird to be real.

There's also an interesting sub-culture of moon landing whack jobs who do believe we landed on the Moon, just not with Apollo 11. That was faked to make the deadline. The real landing took place on Apollo 14 or so.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:55 AM on October 3, 2015


I'm sorry but I don't believe a single one of those photos were taken on the moon. NASA faked the moon landings. There's just too many things wrong with these pics, the videos and the astronauts' testimonies. Stanley Kubrick helped fake the footage of the Apollo 11 'landing' and then left clues in The Shining for all the world to see. It makes my head spin to think that all these years later people still haven't woken up to the truth.

Buzz Aldrin would like a word with you. Outside.
posted by briank at 7:52 AM on October 3, 2015 [11 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted. Not sure if we're joking around or what, but let's drop the "we didn't really go to the moon" thing.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:01 AM on October 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Some of my favorites.

Just hanging around the moon, doing moon stuff.

I never get over how fragile the LM's looked.

No, I don't wanna take a picture of YOU getting out, I wanna go first. (Amazing color image.)

When I look at the Apollo images, I alternate between "That's the freaking moon," and "Oh, earth is the most gorgeous thing."

(And my obligatory comment that I'm old enough to remember Gemini/Apollo, and if you'd told me I'd reach *this* age without us having left earth orbit again ...)
posted by NorthernLite at 10:12 AM on October 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


i own a non-commercial laser disc containing an enormous number of raw film scans (complete w/ sprocket holes) from a variety of Apollo missions plus raw images from one of the Voyager probes. Most everything is B&W. There was no editing: overexposed and out of focus images are all there. It was purchased at the famous Foothill Junior College electronics swap meet in Los Altos Hills, CA, in the mid 90s. Proximity to the NASA Ames Research facility in Mountain View is likely how it came to be sold there. My friends and I have always speculated that someone was given a small budget to archive all of this stuff and they used what at the time must have seemed like a pretty cutting edge media. Of course, we all know how that turned out.

One the best parts of the disc are a set of images taken inside the Apollo 13 LEM. You can clearly see all the taped up boxes and hoses used to jury rig the CO2 filter from the CM into the LEM. I just always think about those guys facing death by any of a number of means taking the time to document their work. What steely optimism and will!
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 11:33 AM on October 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


(And my obligatory comment that I'm old enough to remember Gemini/Apollo, and if you'd told me I'd reach *this* age without us having left earth orbit again ...)

We do leave Earth's orbit, just with robots instead of people. Robots are better than people at every space task other than actually being a human in space. Take solace in our fleet of brave robot explorers, my friend.
posted by neonrev at 11:47 AM on October 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was browsing through them, and found a series of images from Apollo 16 that turned out to be a fairly good panorama of an astronaut in the lunar buggy when put together using Hugin.
posted by MikeWarot at 12:07 PM on October 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Neonrev, as a proud alum of the Juno tweetup, I hear ya.
But J still want to see people leaving LEO.
posted by NorthernLite at 2:59 PM on October 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've always wondered why the people who believe the moon landing(s) were faked think the Soviets would have let us get away with it. Think of the PR coup they would have gotten from spilling those beans!
posted by wierdo at 5:25 PM on October 3, 2015


I never get over how fragile the LM's looked.

If you really want to see how fragile the Lunar Module can look, check out this one from Apollo 16 that even scared the Command Module Pilot, Ken Mattingly.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:29 PM on October 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


Awesome
posted by markswann at 12:46 AM on October 4, 2015


If you really want to see how fragile the Lunar Module can look,

I don't know if it's me, or the internet sucks, or what, but it took me a while to figure out how to actually get the original resolution in my browser so I could scroll around, and...

"You came in that thing? You're braver than I thought."
posted by mikelieman at 12:49 AM on October 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I like the final Mother Jones selection. It's an Astronaut Selfie with the earth behind him. Slightly prophetic, in a way. I would love to know which astronaut it was.

A bit of Googling says it's AS17-134-20471, described in this essay with the caption: "Gene Cernan took this photo of Jack Schmitt, with the crescent Earth above, towards the end of the EVA." (this was the last EVA, iiuc, and Jack would be the second-to-last person to step off the moon's surface, moments before Gene Cernan.)
posted by effbot at 3:39 AM on October 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


The two rolls from Apollo 13 are poignant as hell. The second, in particular, depicts the damaged service module, and the "lifeboat" LEM drifting away after jettison with what I presume is the Moon in the background. There are also some shots of the crew. All of which they took knowing that surviving re-entry was far from a sure thing.

In Ron Howard's movie, which was made the crew is shown taking photos of the Moon as they slingshot around it. I wonder if they really did so, and then had to leave the film behind due to weight considerations, or if those pictures still exist somewhere and might get posted later.
posted by Gelatin at 6:27 AM on October 5, 2015


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