Sunday, April 12, 2009

Space cowgirl salvages NASA junk, finds 'Pic of the Century'

"NASA was so preoccupied with getting an astronaut to the moon ahead of the Soviets that little attention was paid to the mountains of scientific data that flowed back to Earth from its early space missions. The data, stored on miles of fragile tapes, grew into mountains that were packed up and sent to a government warehouse with crates of other stuff.

And so they eventually came to the attention of Nancy Evans, a no-nonsense woman with flaming red hair that fit her sometimes-impatient nature. She had been trained as a biologist, but within the sprawling space agency she had found her niche as an archivist."

Charged with archiving 2,500 unreadable NASA data tapes from the '66 Lunar Orbiter mission, a determined Nancy Evans scoured govt salvage yards to find a one-ton FR-900 Ampex tape drive to read them. Too costly for NASA, she retired, the drives in her garage. Thru stroke of luck, space junkies found her on a blog, and restored NASA's historic pics.

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