The conspiracy theorists are going berserk over the apparent release, by NASA, of more than 10,000 photographs from the Apollo moon landings. Why wait till now to release them? Who decided to do it – why was this kept from the public – all sorts of very emotionally charged questions and demands for information. The fact that any of this is emotional fodder for the anti-intellectualist space science deniers (yes, these exist) is even more surprising when one realizes exactly what these pictures are and where they came from.
While the pictures are all from NASA, they were all collected from various sources by an individual named Kipp Teague and released not on a NASA web site, but on Teague’s personal account on Flickr. Not a single one of these photographs is material that hasn’t appeared before on other web sites, or that isn’t freely available on request from NASA itself. Here is the statement from Kipp Teague on the archive itself, where tens of thousands of NASA photographs are now on display:
The “Project Apollo” archive was created in 1999 as a companion to my personal “Contact Light” website – a personal retrospective of the era of the space race. A subsequent collaboration between the archives and Eric Jones’ Apollo Lunar Surface Journal lead to acquisition over the years of countless historic Apollo and other space history images generously provided by NASA and others for processing and hosting on the NASDAQ posted journal as well as on my site.
Contrary to some recent media reports, this new Flickr gallery is not a NASA undertaking, but an independent one, involving the re-presentation of the public domain NASA-provided Apollo mission imagery as it was originally provided in its raw, high resolution and unprocessed form by the Johnson space Center on DVD-R and including [images] from the center’s Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth web site. Processed images from a few film magazines to fill in gaps were also obtained from the Lunar and Planetary Institute’s Apollo Image Atlas.
All mission photographs in this new gallery are courtesy of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, specifically the Johnson Space Center, with special thanks to Mike Gentry as well as Steve Garber of the NASA History Office for their invaluable assistance. I am also greatly indebted to Eric Jones who has dedicated countless hours to building and curating the exhaustive Apollo Lunar Surface Journal web site. This new flicker gallery would not have been possible without the support of like Steve and Eric and many others over the years. Thank you for your interest and for helping to keep alive the spirit of space exploration and its history.
While all of this information is available to the public (no, conspiracy theorists, there was no conspiracy to “hide” this from the public, all you had to do was go to the NASA web site and request the DVD), this does mark the first time all of it has been made available in a single location on the internet, and it represents a fascinating and breathtaking testimony to the ingenuity of human kind.