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NASA Space

NASA Opens Space Image Library 105

Posted by Soulskill
from the pretty-pictures dept.
slatterz writes with an excerpt from a brief PC Authority article: "NASA is to make its huge collection of historic photographs, film and video available to the public for the first time. A partnership with the non-profit Internet Archive will see 21 major NASA imagery collections merged into a single searchable online resource. The NASA Images website is expected to go live this week. The content of the site covers all the diverse activities of America's space program, including imagery from the Apollo missions, Hubble Space Telescope views of the universe and experimental aircraft past and present." The site is working already, and it looks fantastic. Don't hesitate to share any interesting pictures or movies you find.
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NASA Opens Space Image Library

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  • by beanerspace (443710) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @05:22AM (#24346635) Homepage

    This is great, my only hope is that they start with the older stuff first.

    I've got some old 8x10's my father would bring home - he was an engineer at NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center from the beginning of the space race through to the Jupiter probe.

    Now I have these wonderful images I can share with my young daughter of what an old computer looks like and the slide-ruled people who ran them.

    I know I'm gushing, but this is going to be great in so many ways, as along with some spectacular shots of space - we'll also see down-to-earth images of the culture at the time that cannot be expressed even in 1000 words.

    • by eclectro (227083) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @06:00AM (#24346771)

      we'll also see down-to-earth images of the culture at the time that cannot be expressed even in 1000 words.

      Obviously [mac.com]

    • by rts008 (812749) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @07:24AM (#24347009) Journal

      I hope that they can find the missing tapes. :)

      I am not only a NASA brat, but also worked at GSFC circa 1976-1976 for Bendix as a sub contractor at the NTTF facility there.
      Neat stuff happening then, and now.

      Hopefully your daughter can experience the 'cool, awesome, and wow' factor we went through...that job sparked my interest in astrophysics even though at the time I was working in Logistics fresh out of my high school.

      Long before I was old enough to think beyond 'Wow-cool- ASTRONAUTS!!-I loved 'playing' in the Mercury and Gemini capsules when I went to work with Dad before I was old enough to be hired there. (circa 7th grade I think)

      Dude! Talk to your Dad with your Daughter present. That was a great time for the Space Race!
      Don't quash her spirit or ambitions....feed them instead!

      I would not be surprised if my Dad had not known your Dad.

      Rock on dude!...don't deny your daughter, but encourage her.

      P.S.
      This post hit me out of the blue so to speak...and I have been drinking,...But give your daughter all of the facts and guide her in her discoveries and provide her with the facts.

      Astrophysics is an interesting and growing field now days. Help her out in the right direction! (my humble opinion-end lecture)

      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        You sound like one of those carefully planted shills sent out by NASA to convince people that the moon landings were real. Great straw man :)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Teancum (67324)

      My father worked as a photographer for a NASA (& DOD) contractor and had access to a rather large set of high resolution photos that came from space as well. One of them was a high resolution image of the whole Earth taken at the Equator that shows nearly the entire western hemisphere. I think it was likely a weather satellite photo, but the resolution is simply outstanding as it is an actual photograph.

      This photo, BTW, is now above my son's bed and has become a family heirloom.

      My only regret was that

    • by jez9999 (618189)

      hopefully they'll start from the beginning

      I'm still waiting for the picture of the Big Bang. Until they show that, I'll believe the theory is a hoax.

  • I just went there and already found this [nasaimages.org]. I can't wait to find more.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I found this...
      "Irregular Moons Discovered Around Uranus" [nasaimages.org]

      'nough said...

      • by Negatyfus (602326)
        Oh, nice one! :)
      • I only see a black screen with some links to the side.

      • by iminplaya (723125)

        I know I'm going to hate myself for asking, but where's Uranus?

        • Between Saturn and Neptune, orbit wise, about 2.8 billion kilometres away from the sun. Get yourself a copy of kstars, or starry night, or some other astronomy program if you need further details.
          • by iminplaya (723125)

            Um, I meant in the picture. All I saw were a bunch of tiny dots. And surely, I expected a more snappy answer to a stupid question. You're no fun.

        • I remember reading somewhere (probably before the [populous] Internet revolution, I'm thinking early or pre-1990's) that astronomers changed the official pronunciation of "Uranus" to make the "a" in "Uranus" short or unstressed. This was done for obvious reasons.

          From Wikipedia:

          The preferred pronunciation of the name Uranus among astronomers is [jrns], with the first syllable stressed and a short a (rns);[34] this is more classically correct than the alternate [je.ns], with stress on the second syllable and a "long a" (rns), which is often used in the English-speaking world.

          • Off hand (in the vague recesses of my memory) I believe Steven Hawking mentioned that in the Brief History of Time. Maybe not, but Google isn't helping me here and I don't want to download (search for) a PDF version (to do a word search) just to validate my assumptions.

        • "I know I'm going to hate myself for asking, but where's Uranus?"

          On the flip side of your venis.

          • by iminplaya (723125)

            Best answer so far. Thank you. It's just that I couldn't find it in the picture. Maybe that's a good thing.

            She's got it
            Yeah, baby, she's got it
            I'm your Venus, I'm your fire
            At your desire

  • Rover tracks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CmdrSammo (1086973) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @05:30AM (#24346667) Homepage
    I really like this image [nasaimages.org] showing the rover tracks leading back to the Apollo 14 Lunar Module "Antares".

    How anyone can look at this image in particular and claim the landings were faked is beyond me. It's a wonderful image, let's just hope we'll be back there soon to take more!
    • by Negatyfus (602326) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @05:34AM (#24346695) Journal
      It's obviously shopped. I mean, the shadows are way off. I could do that in MS Paint.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by miraboo (1164359)
        Come on mods this is funny, its xkcd ( http://xkcd.com/331/ [xkcd.com] ). And as we know this is slashdot and allusions to xkcd automatically go to +5.
      • I bet you could tell by the pixels.

        BTW, I resent image retouching being referred to as "photoshopping". I've done some really cool retouching with Paint Shop Pro (version 9 before Corel acquired it and totally ruined it).

        Of course, it could be worse... it could be called "Gimping"...

    • Re:Rover tracks (Score:5, Informative)

      by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @07:59AM (#24347115) Homepage Journal

      I really like this image [nasaimages.org] showing the rover tracks leading back to the Apollo 14 Lunar Module "Antares".

      Apollo 14 didn't have a rover. Those tracks would have been made by the MET (Modular Equipment Transporter).

      The LRV was first flown on Apollo 15 and IMHO was about 1000 times more effective than working without a rover.

      • Yeah my bad, I knew I had it wrong when I looked a little closer at the image and saw giant footprints nearly filling the space between the tracks. Next time I'll read the caption before posting to /.!
  • Ok, I'm taking bets on how many days before NASA slips up some contraversial picture that raises questions about UFOs. You know, like some of these interesting NASA pics [ufocasebook.com].

    Hmmm, I wonder if volunteering photos will make, hacking NASA [blogspot.com] a little less likely going forward.

    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      Hmmm, I wonder if volunteering photos will make, hacking NASA [blogspot.com] a little less likely going forward.

      SK: Do you have a copy of this? It came down to your machine.
      GM: No, the gr aphical remote viewer works frame by frame. It's a Java application, so there's nothing to save on your hard drive, or at least if it is, only one frame at a time.
      SK: So did you get the one frame?
      GM: No.
      SK: What happened?
      GM: Once I was cut off, my picture just disappeared.
      SK: You were actually cut off the time you were downloading the picture?
      GM: Yes, I saw the guy's hand move across.

      He can write a Perl Script and he hasn't heard of printscreen? Or, ya know, a digital camera? Video out?

    • Take into account the over enthusiastic claims of a water finds that NASA has made in the past. I am of the opinion that if they had photo that in any way looked like might be proof of extra terrestrial life they would display it far and wide. Same goes for any anomaly that would increase people's interest in space.
    • by blincoln (592401)

      You know, like some of these interesting NASA pics

      Do you have to be wearing the sunglasses from They Live in order to see the UFOs in those pictures? In a few of them (maybe 1/4 or less of the images) there are bright spots whose source isn't immediately obvious. In the others, I was left scratching my head. I could only assume that in many of them, the site's owner was trying to say that the sun/Earth in the sky or one of the background hills was a UFO.

  • by Puffy Director Pants (1242492) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @05:50AM (#24346743)
    They photoshopped out the Aliens and the Moonbase and the spot where Superman had a fight with that evil blond guy.
  • Thank you NASA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by node159 (636992) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @05:52AM (#24346755)
    I always found that the images from Voyager 1 put our insignificance in perspective. This is a wonderful thing for NASA to do and I hope it will inspire many of current and future generations.
  • by Coolhand2120 (1001761) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @06:05AM (#24346783)
    These images are amazing! I'm curious why all the 'newer' images are always low quality (small). I know they have larger, higher quality images, and I've seen some of the larger images on the JPL and NASA site, however, the large images are usually older missions and there are quite a few poor images, Mars rover mission for instance, that are obviously smaller versions of the original. I hope I'm mistaken and these full resolution images are available, but I've looked pretty good and can't seem to find them, so if there there it's not obvious where they are. Can anyone enlighten me?
    • by david.given (6740) <dg.cowlark@com> on Saturday July 26, 2008 @06:29AM (#24346841) Homepage Journal

      The old images were taken on real photographic film, which was then brought back to Earth and developed. Hugely expensive due to having to ship all that mass around, and only feasible at all on sample-return missions, but the quality is superb. The new images are taken using digital cameras, JPEG compressed, and transmitted back using the Deep Space Network; as a result, the quality is much lower. (On the other hand, shipping photographic film back from Mars is a little beyond our technical expertise right now.)

      It is possible to take high-resolution pictures from Mars, but it's not done very often because it takes too long --- a couple of weeks for a decent panorama; dozens of low-resolution pictures need to be taken, transmitted back, and then pieced together (mostly by hand). It's far more cost-effective to use low-resolution pictures. At that distance bandwidth is the main limitation; they've just been upgraded to a 256kbps connection, and the DSN only listens to them in short windows.

      This is less of a problem for spacecraft nearer Earth; JAXA's Kaguya lunar probe can send back HDTV video, for example, although still not live.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Coolhand2120 (1001761)
        What you're saying makes a lot of since. I didn't know the connections were so slow or intermittent. But even at 256kbps you should be able to download quite a few high resolution images, especially considering the amount of time they have had. Even with JAXA's Kaguya probe, they only released low resolution (low dimensions 800x600 for example), I only looked at the images when they came out a few months ago, but they were very small, maybe they released higher resolution images now.

        This is a baseless
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by wsloand (176072)

          It is not monetary value it's scientific value. Generally the scientist who is has the rights to the telescope time (or who has helped design or run the mission, etc.) has rights to the data for a limited time (I think it's 6 months). After that time the images are released for the (scientific) general public. The difference here is that it's put into a form that the really general public can access the materials.

          No reason for paranoia in this case that I'm aware of.

        • by GrAfFiT (802657)
          Nasa imagery is public domain, as are all photographic works from the US government. See their statement [nasa.gov]. Wikipedia is very grateful for this.
        • it could be that they've anticipated an early rush of traffic and held some of the larger items back in order to keep the traffic somewhat under control
  • Resolution (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I did not RTFA but will they upload those awesome images in higher resolution? It would be the best wallpaper site on the web...

    Dammit captchas.

  • I look forward to wasting much time on the site looking at all the amazing sights!
    • Yep. My Saturday's pretty much accounted for, now. In short, this is impressive as hell.
      • Yep. My Saturday's pretty much accounted for, now. In short, this is impressive as hell.

        Mine's not. You all have slashdotted the site, you insensitive clods. Now I have to go back to work.

  • Remember (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Saturday July 26, 2008 @06:57AM (#24346935)

    In spite of all the criticism, much of it deserved, something like this reminds us that NASA has had its share of triumphs. I hope they start to find their way again.

    • by Turiacus (1316049)

      This fascination for their past (Apollo) is not a good sign. They are so stuck in their old ways that at some point it might be best to turn NASA into a museum and build a new space agency.

      If you want some light reading, try the paper available here [space-frontier.org]. It offers some illustrations of the inertia of the agency and of the damages it causes.

      • by hyades1 (1149581)

        Thank you very much for the link. It's now living in the "Revisit" folder in my Bookmarks.

  • Finally (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Xelios (822510) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @07:08AM (#24346971)
    One of the things that always annoyed me about NASA is that so little media gets released. You read news articles boasting how one of their probes has taken thousands of pictures, and maybe 10 of those ever get released to the general public. The public funds NASA, and I think a site like this can go a long way to convincing people that this funding is worth it.

    HiRise [arizona.edu] is pretty cool too.
    • by Tom90deg (1190691)

      Well, the problem is that 90% of the photos are crap. And by that, I mean, overexposed, not centered in the shot, cut of or what have you. I've heard that National Geographic photographers consider it a good day when one out of 100 photos they've taken is good enough for NG.

      Also, from a far more cynical point of view, do you really think NASA is going to give out the crappy out of focus pictures, or the crystal clear ones that inspire people to give them more money?

      Remember, NASA has a budget of something l

    • by Teancum (67324)

      In defense of NASA, a great many of those photos have been released... at least for current space probes. A great deal of what you are complaining about here has to do with the distribution of those images and not necessarily a secret conspiracy by NASA to withhold these images from the public.

      All it takes is a little more digging to find those images you want.

      What is frustrating is for photographs that weren't originally digital imagery, where often a rather lousy job of digitizing the media took place th

      • by blincoln (592401)

        If the data was preserved properly AND somebody bothered to write a good conversion utility that didn't lose too much information in the process, you might have some good photographs.

        It would be nice if NASA were willing to give the public a shot at the raw data for the files in formats that they don't have decoders for.

        I've reverse-engineered proprietary image formats before for fun. I'm sure there aren't many people who do that, but I know I'm not the only one.

        • by Teancum (67324)

          I've done some reverse-engineering of multi-media data formats (including some very obscure formats), and it can be quite frustrating.

          I wouldn't mind a poorly scanned data format document put into a PDF that you could plow thorugh and then have access to some of the raw data files as well. I've seen some spectacular results for some enhanced processing of the Venera missions to Venus, where about 10%-20% of some of the images that were presumed to be corrupted data revealed some usable data. That is the k

    • It is true that a very small percentage of images are processed and released to the public (usually accompanied by a press release caption). But if you dig, you can almost always find that the raw images are available. The vast majority of images are unspectacular, and really not worth processing (color correction, etc) and putting in a press release. As I graduate student, I briefly worked on a project using ALL of the Voyager images of Saturn's icy satellites Mimas and Tethys. Most of the images were
    • by deglr6328 (150198)

      Excuse me, why is the above twaddle modded up to a +3? This person obviously has not spent the better half of a single second actually looking for the images they decry as being "unreleased". Because if they had, they would've found even the most casual perusal of the websites for any of the recent space probe missions turns up TENS OF THOUSANDS OF RAWIMAGES for each one. Your incompetence in locating EASILY accessible information from NASA websites isn't their fault.

  • Bummer (Score:5, Funny)

    by Daimanta (1140543) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @08:14AM (#24347177) Journal

    No pics of the studio where they filmed the moon landing :(

    • I already posted one picture here [slashdot.org], but they did not allow taking photographs, so the guy had to draw it from memory.
  • Hey cool! I've always wanted to find the background image of the end titles for the original Lost in Space series (colour version).
    I wonder if it's not too old. I believe it was taken around 1959?

  • http://www.nasaimages.org/luna/servlet/detail/nasaNAS~5~5~20520~125573:Apollo-17-Astronaut-Training [nasaimages.org]

    Guy standing in the white Boeing suit, near right center edge of frame. Thanks heaps, NASA.

  • ... I doubt they'll shwo the alien pictures too.
  • You are here [nasaimages.org]

    With the exception of the spacecraft we sent out, and RF from our radio and TV, everything about us is on that tiny little grain of sand

    • by iminplaya (723125)

      Sorry about this, but I gotta add that this should remind us how insignificant we are, and that we are living out our lives like those kids in "Lord of the Flies"

  • I wonder how hard and useful it would be to merge these photos into Google Sky. They probably don't have exact coordinate info... or do they? ... and maybe Google already has deeper pictures, but wow, if all Hubble photos could be stitched together and made available with such a great interface, that would be awesome.
  • I've been advocating for publishing those archives for many years, since about 1991 when I met a NASA archivist at a Unix conference in San Jose, CA. I'm very pleased to see these archives opened for public use.

    What I wanted since 1991 was to see NASA actually mail through the USPS a CD-ROM (later a DVD) once a year to every American household (minus those who mailed them back, postage free, opting out). A "greatest hits of 2008" etc, that would be collectible, useful for school assignments, and just a beau

  • by florescent_beige (608235) on Saturday July 26, 2008 @10:05AM (#24347835) Journal
    I browsed quickly through the site and didn't see any video.

    Two of my very favorite things to watch, and I could literally sit and watch them over and over for weeks are the Apollo 11 and 17 landing videos.

    NASA has placed online full video libraries for both Apollo 11 [nasa.gov] and Apollo 17 [nasa.gov]. *

    The actual Apollo 11 landing is here [nasa.gov] (16 minutes).

    The actual Apollo 17 landing is here [nasa.gov] (4 minutes).

    The Apollo 17 video will send shivers up and down your spine I guarantee it.

    * Most unfortunately, the videos are in Quicktime(tm) format. If you, like me, use Windows, go here [apple.com] to get Quicktime. If you have NoScript, disable it for that page because there is a script that autodetects your OS. Download the most basic player and uncheck all options because Apple tries to install all sorts of incredibly annoying nag- and crap-ware. Also make sure you do not select auto-update because thats another level of nagging to upgrade to a paid service. Finally, use Spybot to disable the Apple updater in your startup list.
    • If you, like me, use Windows, go here to get Quicktime.

      Quicktime is horrible. I recommend QuickTime Alternative using the superb Media Player Classic. Just goes to show that Microsoft and Apple haven't done one good thing to media player UI in the last 10 years.

      • I wasn't aware of the player that is recommended on the nasa.gov site: VLC:

        http://www.videolan.org/vlc/ [videolan.org]

        I tried it out and it works well for me so I got rid of Quicktime.
        • I never used VLC on Windows but it's my player of choice for Linux.

          Good for them, recommending something that works. The players from the big boys are all horrible. They have no interest in supporting each other's formats, and none of them work very well and they all look horrible. It's gotten almost as bad as it was before ActiveMovie came along.

          The people behind VLC and MPC understand people just want to watch the damn videos. They don't need some stupid "environment" forcing advertising or links to i

  • I wish that they would spend more on the future.
  • I mean really, really? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I know a NASA photographer who has been working there for darn near 40 years now and I've always understood that the entire photo library has always been freely accessible. I believe this is the first time they might be available over the INTERNET, but to the "public"? No more so than the public library is off limits because it is not published online. Anybody know better of this?
  • Is there a NASA audio archive available anywhere? I've been looking around, but have only found a few sites with a small number of audio clips. Having an Apollo moonwalk on my ipod would be sweet.

  • The top page opens OK, but so far haven't been able to access anything else. "NASA Images is experiencing high load, please wait 30 seconds and reload."
  • I was able to get to look at a picture from a direct link someone posted even though the site was going very slow and downloaded a neat picture. For some reason, the jpeg file was in a .zip, so the "compressed" file was actually a bit larger (about 4 KB) than the actual picture, making the extra compression kind of pointless. Maybe that's why they're getting slashdotted so badly!

  • It's another packaging of the 160x120 videos they already have online. Now if they threw in the word "cloud" and some community sections, they'd have something.

  • The NOAA takes its licensing claims very seriously. It's far more lucrative that ocean and atmosphears stuff. No. paperwork is where the real future lies. http://www.licensing.noaa.gov/ [noaa.gov]
  • This nice picture [nasaimages.org] was taken by the veteran astronaut who recently claimed aliens exist. May be he saw something up there on the moon?

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