Recovering lunar history

Earthrise 1966 - Lunar Orbiter 1

Earthrise as seen by Lunar Orbiter 1 in August 1966, more than two years before Apollo 8 (NASA/LOIRP).

The Los Angeles Times has the fascinating story of the effort to recover data from the Lunar Orbiter program of the 1960s, during which 2,000 photographs were taken by five unmanned probes. The data sat, all but forgotten on obsolete tapes, for decades, while a NASA archivist struggled to find the funding and hardware to get them transcribed. Neither was found until recently, after her retirement; now, they’re trying to digitized the old analog data stored on those tapes. So far, two images have been released: this awesome Earthrise, taken more than two years before the more famous Earthrise photograph by the crew of Apollo 8; and this grand shot of Copernicus crater. More at the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project page; MoonViews is the associated blog. Via MetaFilter.