NETWATCH: Opening NASA's Vault

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Science  17 Aug 2007:
Vol. 317, Issue 5840, pp. 877
DOI: 10.1126/science.317.5840.877a

The moon shots that researchers and the public have gazed at over the years are mainly copies—or copies of copies—that don't match the originals in clarity, color, or contrast.

But at last, we all will get to see the originals. Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe, the Lunar and Planetary Institute, and NASA are posting high-resolution scans of the 35,000 photos from the Apollo missions—from film that has been chilling out in a freezer in Houston, Texas, for more than 30 years.

The digitized images will enable researchers to draft more precise topographic maps of the lunar surface, for example, and to evaluate possible landing sites for future moon missions, says geologist Mark Robinson of ASU. The archive is just gearing up but will have several hundred images by next month.

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