This has made quite a splash across the internet over the past several weeks, and for good reason: the Project Apollo Archive is now on Flickr, giving anyone and everyone point-and-click access to some of the best scans of original Apollo mission photographs that have been made to date. Really, this is something you can get yourself wonderfully lost in (and I speak from personal experience!)
Now, contrary to what some knee-jerk pop news sites have been claiming, these are not new photos. They weren’t previously hidden or heretofore locked away in some top-secret NASA vault or dusty closet in a basement at Johnson Space Center. Most if not all of these photos have long been available online, specifically at the Project Apollo Archive Image Gallery which has for over 15 years been a great resource for lunar mission photography.
What this new Flickr set provides is a more user-friendly browsable gallery of the Apollo photos, organized by mission and film magazine (there were both color and monochrome pan films used during the Apollo missions.)
And, also contrary to what has been stated, this is not a NASA undertaking but rather an independent and ongoing project by space historian Kipp Teague, who also set up the preexisting site.
What’s so great about these pictures is that they are unprocessed, unretouched high-resolution scans from the original medium-format films brought back from the Moon and, if you haven’t looked at them before, really show the incredible beauty of the Moon’s “magnificent desolation.” They’re not just the select PR shots either, but all of them – even the not-so-good or out of focus ones – giving a feel for what it was like to shuffle and skip around the lunar surface with a camera glued to your chest. Still, even the worst of them is a treasure.
Project Apollo is also now on Facebook, so you can follow them along there too.
Just for the record, I assume no responsibility for hours lost looking through these images!