In a frozen vault, under lock and key at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, sit 35,000 original photos from NASA’s historic Apollo Moon missions. For the first time in 50 years, these photos have been restored, pixel by pixel, to reveal these iconic images as we’ve never seen them before.
As we sit on the cusp of the first NASA mission to return to the Moon, with an eye to putting the first woman and person of color on the lunar surface, it’s not surprising that thoughts have turned towards the first time humankind visited our satellite. Now, thanks to the wizardry of photo restorer Andy Saunders, we can explore the Moon once again in unprecedented detail.
Collected together in a gorgeous new book, Apollo Remastered, Saunders – who is one of the world’s foremost experts of NASA digital restoration – has used cutting-edge techniques and skills to create the highest quality Apollo images ever produced. Now, we can experience spacewalks and Moon strolls as if we were there, as Apollo 16 astronaut Charlie Duke attests:
“Andy Saunders's remastered images are so clear and real that they are the next best thing to being there. . . They are an exact representation of what I remember from my journey to the Moon on Apollo 16. These photos reveal very precisely what the Moon was really like."
Nothing makes you feel smaller than seeing the whole world in a visor.
It wasn't just flags that were left on the Moon, items ranged from golf balls to family photos.
“Leaving the photo of the family on the surface was an emotional moment,” says Duke in the book of the family portrait he left on the Moon in 1972.
When compared side by side, the restored detail is astonishing.
It seems incredible that in just a few short years we'll be able to see what 50 years of technology might make of a scene like this. Are we set to get the first video of the surface of the Moon?
In December this year, it will be 50 years since humans last walked on the Moon and we got shots like this. In the next decade, we can look forward to not only new spectacular photos from the surface of the Moon, but the technical wizardry of people like Saunders on the ground, who make us feel like we are there with them.