Part of a historic archive of space images, including Soviet photos of the surface of Venus, hand-assembled mosaics of Jupiter's moons, and an incredibly detailed map of the Moon, has been published online by UCL (University College London). The rare photos and maps, many of which have never been available online until now, have been published as part of the Festival of the Planets [http://www.europlanet-eu.org/epsc2013/outreach-activities], which runs from 8-13 September in London.
The images are all available in high resolution.
UCL has a large archive of historical space photos from NASA and other agencies. Before the internet became a major tool for sharing scientific data, NASA shipped hard copies of its photos, and UCL was one of only seven institutions outside of the United States to receive them. The university's planetary science archives have been further enriched over the years thanks to the research interests of its astronomers.
This treasure trove of pictures gives a fascinating glimpse into the history of the space age, and many of the pictures are of remarkably good quality.
- The first mosaicked images to come back from the Voyager probes when they visited the moons of Jupiter in the 1970s.
- Pictures of the surface of Venus, taken by Soviet landers in the 1980s.
- An incredibly detailed map of the Moon, made by a British astronomer more than a century ago — now available as a huge 400 megapixel scan.
Steve Miller, professor of planetary science at UCL, said, "The Festival of the Planets is going alongside this year's European Planetary Science Congress
, which we are holding at UCL. This will be an outstanding scientific event, with more than 800 planetary scientists from all over the world. The planets really are coming to London, and we hope Londoners will enjoy their visit."
News updates of research being presented at the congress will be published throughout next week.