Highly detailed photographs of the Moon taken by the Apollo missions are being made available to the public for the first time in more than 30 years. Photos taken on the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 missions in the 1970s showed the Moon in great detail but were only ever viewed by a few scientists. Since then they have been locked away in freezers by Nasa to preserve them. Arizona State University is now making them available from the internet after using high resolution scanners.
"We're scanning the pictures in a very high bit resolution - 14 bits - which means that for each pixel, you have about 16,000 shades of grey," Mark Robinson, a professor of Geological Sciences and the principal investigator on the project, told BBC World Service's Digital Planet programme. "A typical scan of a negative or film is eight bits. So it's not only that we're scanning this at a very high pixel resolution - showing detail to five millionths of a metre - but it's also a high bit resolution, because we want to preserve as much of the original information as possible."