Apollo moon landing photos released

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Thousands of photographs of the Apollo lunar landings have recently been compiled on Flickr by The Project Apollo Archive. This new gallery of photos will make it easier for students to find and use these photos in their research.

View of the earth above the lunar lander during the Apollo 11 mission. Apollo 11 was the first mission to land someone on the moon. (NASA)

Kipp Teague began The Project Apollo Archive in 1999 as a companion site to NASA’s own Apollo Lunar Surface Journal. It was meant to be an online source where people could learn more about the manned lunar landings. However the project has recently gained a new momentum with the release of a new Flickr page containing over 8,400 photos from various lunar landings.

“The new gallery is a revisiting of the astronaut photos taken during the missions, and presented for the first time in an unprocessed, uncropped, highest available resolution format,” wrote Teague.

Teague said his purpose in creating the project was to merely get the photos out where others could see them. His project has gained popularity quickly, with the Flickr page gaining over 36,000 new followers in the weeks following its creation in late September.

While these photos have been available from NASA for years, Teague’s project has made them easier for the public to find and access the images. It is expected that he will finish uploading all the photos by the end of the October, bringing the total to around 13,000 photographs.

View of the Moon’s surface from the Apollo 15 mission. Craters in the image could be used by researchers to date the moon. (NASA)

The new site has opened new research opportunities for individuals and especially for students. “I haven’t considered the possibilities this opens for research and the like, but if the new gallery contributes to education on space history, that is wonderful,” Teague said.

Students of history, astronomy and even geology can benefit from the information provided by the photographs in the website.

“More pictures put together a more complete history,” said Amanda Bolander, a junior studying earth and space science education. She pointed out how the Apollo photographs of craters from meteor impacts could help date the moon and its history. “As students, you need to learn what others have already found out,” she said.

The photographs are useful to professors and teachers as well. “I use copies of photos from the Apollo Archive in my classes,” said Michael Joner, Ph.D, a research professor of physics and astronomy at BYU.

An Apollo astronaut walks away from a lunar rover. The Apollo 16 mission was completed in 1972. (NASA)

While many of the photographs are focused on a single rock or pile of dirt, Joner described how valuable those photos are. “These rocks were taken to earth for testing, so having a photo of that rock in its natural environment really helps geologists,” Joner said.

The archive is also useful for hobbyists and individual learning. Joner remembers the excitement over the space race and moon missions growing up and uses the archive to help rekindle that excitement.