When NASA archivist, Nancy Evans, was asked what to do with a 10x20x6 ft pile of data tapes weighing 24 tons she was told that they normally would be destroyed.
"Do not destroy those tapes," Evans commanded.
The 70mm tapes held irreplaceable, extremely high-resolution images of the moon taken during the 1960s by NASA's Lunar Orbiters. Altogether, nearly 2,000 frames were photographed by the five missions. An on-board darkroom developed the lunar images and prepared them for transmission back to Earth. The tapes which can only be read by a $330,000 FR-900 Ampex magnetic tape reader, ended up being stored in an abandoned McDonalds.
A team consisted of Nancy Evans, Dennis Wingo, Keith Cowing of NASA Watch and Ken Zim who had experience of repairing video equipment began a task that NASA said would cost 6 million dollars.
Twenty years earlier, Nancy Evans had scrounged the only 4 remaining FR-900 tape drives, each 7 feet tall and weighing nearly a ton, and stored them in her garage. None of them worked. Ken Zim was only one person on Earth who could still refurbish these tape units.
Now, two years later the team is proudly releasing the first of 2000 photos which have twice the resolution and four times the dynamic range of any previously seen. Click on this link to see the famous "Earth rise seen from the Moon".
The full details of this sage can be found in the links below. I think you will enjoy reading more. I sure did.