To land men on the moon as part of the Apollo program, NASA needed to know the consistency of the lunar soil. At the time of probe launch, it was not known whether the dusty soil would be able to support the weight of the Apollo lunar module and how many feet and the size of the soles they would be equipped with. Under pessimistic assumptions, the moon probe would be swallowed up by the moon dust.
More than 10,000 images were taken by Surveyor 1 before the moonset on June 14,1966, including narrow angle panoramas, photometric studies, special area surveys and celestial photographs. The probe responded to the camera activation command on July 7 and, until July 14,1966, sent another 1,000 frames.
The video camera consisted of a video tube, 25 mm and 100 mm focal length lenses, shutters, filters and diaphragms mounted along an inclined axis of approximately 16 degrees on the centerline of the probe. The camera was mounted under a mirror that could vary in azimuth and elevation. Image coverage of the lunar surface was obtained on 360 degrees azimuth and 40 degrees above the normal plane of the camera's Z-axis at 65 degrees below this plane. Two modes were used, one of 200 lines and the other of 600 lines. The 200-line mode transmitted the first 14 photos on an omni-directional antenna and scanned a frame every 61.8 seconds. The remaining transmissions were made in 600-line mode with a directional antenna; each frame was scanned every 3.6 seconds. Each frame of 200 lines needed 20 seconds for a complete video transmission and used a 1.2 kHz bandwidth. Each image of 600 lines needed 1 second (nominal value) to be read from the video and required a 220 kHz bandwidth for transmission. The data transmission was converted into a standard closed-circuit television signal and broadcast on public television. Television images were displayed on Earth by a slow scan, long-lasting phosphorus-coated monitor. The persistence was selected to be optimal at the maximum nominal frame rate. An identification frame was received for each frame from the probe and displayed in real time at a rate compatible with the arrival image. These data were recorded on a VCR. More than 10,000 images were taken by Surveyor 1 before the moonset on June 14,1966, including narrow angle panoramas, photometric studies, special area surveys and celestial photographs. The probe responded to the camera activation command on July 7 and, until July 14,1966, sent another 1,000 frames.
This is the 1218 Computer at Honeysuckle Creek. John Crowe, Les Whaley
This panorama from Surveyor 1 was received at the Tidbinbilla Deep Space tracking station shortly after the unmanned spacecraft touched down on the lunar surface.
Les Whaley with his Surveyor mosaic.
Les Whaley, left, sorting through some of the Surveyor 1 photos at Tidbinbilla.
Standing in front of the Surveyor Command Console at Tidbinbilla – L to R: Gerry Burton (at back, facing left), Les Whaley, Jim Wells, Tony Keillor, Sam Holt (QA Engineer, Hughes), Vern Koenig (Hughes).
SURVEYOR I. Unique wide-angle hand mosaic of Surveyor I's shadow on the Oceanus Procellarum, June 13, 1966; Sold for US$ 98,500 (€87,291) Unique wide-angle hand mosaic of Surveyor I's shadow on the Oceanus Procellarum, June 13, 1966, 66 gelatin silver prints mounted, each approximately 6 x 6 inches (150 x 150 mm), 18 x 59 inches (460 x 1500 mm) overall, matted and framed.
"SURVEYOR I STANDS QUIETLY, ITS JOB WELL DONE.... HERE IS A PICTURE OF ITS OWN MAKING. SURVEYOR CASTS A LENGTHENING SHADOW AS THE LONG LUNAR DAY NEARS ITS END." Thus Homer E. Newell, Associate Administrator of NASA, described this photograph (see Cortright). This unique hand mosaic was assembled by Kay Larson of the US Geological Survey in Flagstaff, AZ, within a few months after the images captured by Surveyor were downloaded. Unlike the more common—but still rare—analytical mosaics, this presentation item was made by careful image matching. The distorted horizon is a result of the camera being tilted, in order that it could better observe the ground at its feet. Exactly a month later, Surveyor I would send its last photograph back to Earth. "Because of battery failure," Newell explained, "presumably caused by the bitter cold of the lunar night, Surveyor I can no longer send earthward pictures of its lonely vigil." Included within the frame is a period window mount, reading "Pictures taken by Surveyor I, June 13, 1966, between 18:53 and 19:14 GMT. Sun elevation 10°. | Surveyor I Landing Site. Day 164. Photomosaic by Kay Larson. | Department of the Interior, United States Geological Survey." Exhibited: Lunar Landscapes, Menil Collection, Houston, TX, March 10-June 4, 2000.
SURVEYOR I. Panorama of the Flamsteed region in Oceanus Procellarum, June 2, 1966-July 14, 1966,
Sold for US$ 62,500 (€55,388) ; Panorama of the Flamsteed region in Oceanus Procellarum, June 2, 1966-July 14, 1966, 10 gelatin silver prints of a hand mosaic, mounted together, 18¾ x 86½ inches (480 x 2200 mm) overall, framed.
Reminiscent of David Hockney's photographic collages, Surveyor I captures its own shadow on the surface of the Moon. Where the preceding lot is made up of myriad prints collaged together, the present photograph is of such a mosaic. Exhibited: Cosmos: from Romanticism to the Avant-Garde, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, March 25 to July 23, 2000.
SURVEYOR I. View of the lunar surface, east south-east, June 14, 1966,
Sold for US$ 1,000 (€886)
View of the lunar surface, east south-east, June 14, 1966, gelatin silver print of a hand mosaic, 8 x 19½ inches (205 x 495 mm), mounted on board, verso of board stamped "Official NASA photograph ... Ames Research Center | Moffett Field, California," framed. Provenance: acquired from the collection of Donald S. Gault.
LUNAR SURFACE PHOTO-MOSAIC.
"Day 019, Survey W-F," sectors 1-5. United States Geological Survey: [1966-1968]. Collage comprising approximately 100 instant black and white photographs, each 2 x 2 inches, numbered in ink, and stapled in overlapping formation on USGS mount with printed notations and caption. Overall 14 x 30 inches. Mount lightly toned. Framed.
View of the lunar surface produced by one of the Surveyor landers. A tracking camera mounted to the lunar probe beamed television images back to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, where the images were photographed and assembled into mosaics by USGS staff at JPL.
LUNAR SURFACE PHOTO-MOSAIC.
"Day 318, Survey G, Sectors 3 and 4." United States Geological Survey: [1966-1968]. Collage comprising approximately 77 instant black and white photographs, each 2 x 2 inches, numbered in ink, and stapled in overlapping formation on USGS mount with printed notations and caption. Overall 31 x 14 inches. Mount slightly crinkled and with waterstains at head. Framed.
In this photo-mosaic, Surveyor photographs part of itself, with the lunar surface as backdrop.
Sold for $5,000 NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] NASA Lunar Surveyor Mosaic for Day 117, Survey D. Sectors 1 and 2 , about 1966. Vintage gelatin silver prints stapled to U.S. Geological Survey mounting sheet, 30 1/4 x 14 1/4 inches (770 x 360 mm), with approximately 85 mounted gelatin silver prints, each annotated in black or white ink with an index number. Fine condition. A remarkable artifact, redolent of the excitement of the first unmanned lunar landings, showing one of the legs of the lander and the lunar surface beyond. Since only around 200 usable examples of these Surveyor Moonscapes were successfully assembled (and only about 50% of these had clear imagery), they are without question among the most expensive photographs ever made since NASA spent millions of dollars on each one.
Sold for $6,250 NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] NASA Lunar Surveyor Mosaic for Day 021, Survey P. Sectors 19 and 20 , about 1966. Vintage gelatin silver prints stapled to U.S. Geological Survey mounting sheet, 30 1/4 x 14 1/4 inches (770 x 360 mm) with approximately 85 mounted gelatin silver prints, each annotated in black or white ink with an index number. Fine condition. A remarkable composite image, redolent of the excitement of the first unmanned lunar landings, with a fine view of the lunar horizon. Since only around 200 usable examples of these Surveyor Moonscapes were successfully assembled (and only about 50% of these had clear imagery), they are without question among the most expensive photographs ever made since NASA spent millions of dollars on each one.
NASA - Lunar Surveyor Mosaic: Day 154, Survey C, sectors 7 & 8, 1966-1968. Description: 110 gelatin silver prints, each numbered in ink on the recto and verso and stapled to a U.S. Geological Survey mount with printed notations and captions, overall 31 x 75cm (12 1/4 x 29in)
VINTAGE NASA SURVEYOR LUNAR MOON-SCAPE PHOTOMOSAIC PHOTOGRAPH.
ACTUAL, PRE-APOLLO, VINTAGE, NASA SURVEYOR, MOON-SCAPE, PHOTO-MOSAIC . ONE OF THE VERY FIRST PHOTOGRAPHS SHOT ON THE LUNAR SURFACE IN 1966-1968. AN EXTRAORDINARY AND RARE PHOTOGRAPHIC DOCUMENT OF EARLY SPACE EXPLORATION. This is NOT A REPRODUCTION from a magazine or book, it is an ACTUAL, ORIGINAL, VINTAGE photo-mosaic made up of 91 small photographs (each a bit under 2" square) stapled to a background sheet as shown (see photo of back) guaranteed to be from 1966-1968. The entire mosaic measures 31" x 14.5". It is clearly noted lower right as - DAY 328, SURVEY EE, SECTORS 9 and 10 . The day has something to do with the entire Surveyor Program and may not mean this machine was up there 328 days. From 1966 - 1968, NASA sent seven Surveyor Landing Craft to the Moon. Five of the seven Surveyors successfully landed in different areas on the moon and began broadcasting television images from a camera mounted to the side of the top of these 13'-0" tall tripod robotic devices. The camera was on a motorized arm that moved it side to side and up and down so that it could take a photo every 4-5 seconds as it tracked. Each of the small photos is marked in ink BY HAND with the hour, minute, and second it was taken on a single day. Like the famous 19th century photographs of the American West, these Surveyor Moonscapes (the last Frontier!) were also assembled by the USGS - The United States Geographical Survey. Images of each small photograph were transmitted by TV signal to JET PROPULSION LABORATORY in Pasadena, CA where they were viewed on large TV monitors. The images on the monitors were then re-photographed with a still camera, printed, inscribed, and then stapled to warped grids on blueprint paper so that they could be viewed by NASA engineers on Earth. The rocky lunar surface is clearly visible in every small shot. The point to all of this was to take a close look at the lunar surface. If it was too rocky (as it appears in some of these Surveyor moonscape mosaics), the Apollo mission would be directed elsewhere. There are in fact famous photos of Apollo astronauts standing next to one of these machines on the moon. Because the surface of the moon was a mystery, and no one knew if it was deep in dust, the Surveyors typically photographed right to their round, compressible, feet. The foot of this Surveyor is clearly visible in the lower right. These NASA Moonscape Mosaics were published internationally in the 1960's. The originals, like this one, are in museum collections all over the world including the Museum of Modern Art and Metropolitan Museum in New York. Great examples have sold for over $50,000. Since only around 200 usable examples of these Surveyor Moonscapes were successfully assembled (and only about 50% of these had clear imagery), they are without question among the most expensive photographs ever made. NASA spent millions of dollars for each, you can buy one here for way less. This is absolutely real and super-rare. If you want a great one, here it is. Background on the Photos - after the Apollo missions, these Surveyor photos were deemed useless and about 200 were given by the USGS/NASA to the Colorado School of Mining. They remained there for some years and were then donated to a small science museum in Denver. In the late 80's this museum went out of business and the Surveyor photos were purchased at their tag sale by a man in Denver. In the early 1990's he contacted me and we began to sell all the good ones (about 50%) to museums and collectors around the world. They are now very expensive if you can find them. This example, which I am selling here today, has been in my possession for 20 years. In 1999 I loaned it to a big exhibition called COSMOS which went to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and then to the Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona in Spain.