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.