NASA Apollo 11 Photo Calibration Chart

NASA Apollo 11 Color Photo Calibration Chart (Click to Enlarge)

Just in case you weren't aware of it already, I'm a nerd. Especially when it comes to the Apollo moon landings. I've read just about every book, watched every documentary, even shook hands with about half the guys who walked on the moon. And when you combine that with my love of photography you shouldn't be surprised that to find that I'm a nerd about the cameras they used on the moon and how they took photos and the inner workings of the archiving systems they came up with to save the film for future generations and so forth. 

A while back I read over here on a NASA history page that when they had loaded the film backs for the Hasselblads that went to the moon, they shot a few pictures of color and resolution targets at the beginning of each roll so that when the film came back they could clip off one of the test shots and run it through their chemistry to make sure everything was set correctly before developing the rest of the roll. Remember they only had one chance to do that right or many people put their lives on the line for nothing.

However despite the fact that you can find just about every frame from every roll in hi-res goodness on the internet, I never saw anything other than really low-res and badly scanned images of the calibration images. So last Sunday my friend Craig was over and I was recounting this random bit of useless trivia to him and decided to send NASA an email to see if they could find something better for me.

Well here we are a week later and the lovely people at the Johnson Space Center, specifically Kathy Strawn and Mike Gentry sent me a nice new high-res scan of the chart in all it's glory. Both Craig and I were surprised at how thrown together the whole thing felt. Seemingly built of scraps of paper on a disused whiteboard. That said, I kind of like how low-fi it is. For those of you out there who are interested in this kind of thing, I thought I'd share. Enjoy.

Bill WadmanComment