As the countdown for Ranger 9, the nation's final lunar photographic mission, nears, scientists at Tucson's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory of the University of Arizona are in full swing processing previous Ranger films.
As the countdown for Ranger 9, the nation's final lunar photographic mission, nears, scientists at Tucson's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory of the University of Arizona are in full swing processing previous Ranger films. The Ranger chief scientist, Dr. Gerard Kuiper (rhymes with wiper) heads the Arizona Lunar Laboratory, and here the work of preparing the historic pictures for publication for use by astronauts and observatories is under way. The film story shows the process of preparing the pictures and even making an accurate scale model of portions of the moon from the Ranger 7 pictures. Most of the work in progress involves the results of the Ranger 7 flight of last July, during which its six camera was sent back more than 4300 moon pictures. The work, as is shown on the film, was then put together in special high-resolution photographic atlases (costing 100 dollars a copy), which were sent to eminent world scientists, including Russian astronomers who similarly gave us their lunar pictures. On Ranger 7 (as well as Ranger 8 and also Ranger 9) six cameras are used. One is a wide angle camera producing the "A" series, another a telephoto-3" producing the "B" series, and then four smaller ones called the "P" series. Each series is being published, "A", "B", and "P". We show the "A" and "B" atlases, and the work on "P" pictures--each of which will have about 200 pictures.
These books of pictures, mounted on linen-backed paper, are strictly limited editions--of 150 copies. One can shudder when you try to imagine how much it cost totally to get these pictures, the missile, fuel, etc. I think it might be well to call these among the world's most unique--and expensive--photographs.
Also shown is the prime target for the upcoming Ranger 9 flight, the lunar crater of Alphonsus.