A new look at the Moon

Posted by Daniel Pendick
on Thursday, February 22, 2007
 
NASA/Philip Stooke

Three cheers for University of Western Ontario geologist Philip Stooke, who deserves the Photoshop Wizard of the Year award for his painstaking restoration of panoramic images shot by the Lunar Surveyors in the 1960s. In his spare time, between teaching cartography and planetary science, Stooke transformed crude and obscured pans of the lunar surface into crisp, modern-looking images. He did it manually, using the standard image-editing software Photoshop.

Previously, the archival pans from the Lunar Surveyors, taken between 1966 and 1968, looked more like the scaly skin of a fish than Earth's Moon. The source images were captured by a TV camera, manually assembled by NASA technicians, and then rephotographed. The results didn't provide a very clear idea of what the Surveyors actually saw. Stooke manually smoothed and corrected the images so they fitted together more seamlessly. Each restored version took 3 months, as he explained to Emily Lakdawalla of the Planetary Society web log.

Here are the before-and-after views of the panorama originally shot by Lunar Surveyor 6. And don't forget to visit Emily Lakdawalla's excellent web log while you're at it, including her recent blog on Stooke's work containing a selection of restored panoramas.

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