The Surveyor program was a NASA program that, from June, 1966 through January, 1968, sent seven robotic spacecraft to the surface of the Moon. Its primary goal was to demonstrate the feasibility of soft landings on the Moon. The mission called for the craft to travel directly to the Moon on an impact trajectory, on a journey that lasted 63 to 65 hours, and ended with a deceleration of just over three minutes to a soft landing. The program was implemented by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to prepare for the Apollo program. Vidicon tube photo by James Janesick. The vidicon tube shown above is similar to the Surveyor vidicon tube and was donated toDigiCamHistory.Com by Jim Janesick.
1969 MARINER 6 & 7
The vidicon tube shown above is similar to the Mariner 6 and 7 type vidicon tube and was donated to DigicamHistory.Com by Jim Janesick
1975 VIKING 1
FIRST PHOTO FROM THE SURFACE OF MARS - This is the first photograph ever taken on the surface of the planet Mars. It was obtained by Viking 1 just minutes after the spacecraft landed successfully on July 20, 1976. The Viking Lander camera design was very different from vidicon framing or CCD array cameras. The lander camera was a facsimile camera with a single, stationary photosensor array (PSA), and azimuth and elevation scanning mechanisms. A lander image was generated by scanning the scene in two directions (elevation and azimuth) to focus light onto the photosensor array. The Viking Lander cameras were built by Itek Corp. Light entered the camera through the windows, reflected off the mirror toward the lens, passed through the lens, and was sensed by one of the photodiodes. The light generated a voltage in the selected photodiode that was digitized by an analog-to-digital (A/D) converter. The photosensor array consisted of 12 silicon photodiodes (or diodes) sensitive to light between 0.4 and 1.1 micrometers. The diodes were arranged in a 2x6 array.
FIRST COLOR PHOTO FROM THE SURFACE OF MARS - Taken by the Viking I Lander , July 21, 1976. Lander camera shown on the right.
The primary Viking instrument on the Viking orbiter consisted of two vidicon cameras for imaging (shown above). The Viking vidicon tube design presented above is a storage type tube imager where incoming photons generate charge within the front face photoconductor. Quickly thereafter the photoconductor is then scanned by a beam of low-velocity electrons. The fluctuating x-y scanning beam current is amplified and displayed on a TV monitor to reproduces the scene that was imaged. The image stored on the photoconductor is automatically erased by the beam of electrons (Vidicon photo taken by James Janesick). Vidicon tube similar to the Viking Orbiter vidicon tube was donated to DigiCamHistory.Com by Jim Janesick.
The orbiter generated tens of thousands of images. The photo on the left is the famous face image that caused so much public discussion early on. The middle photo is of Mars' moon Phobos and the one on the right is of Mars' Dromore crater showing clear evidence that water once existed on Mars. The two orbiter spacecraft were deliberately placed in orbits around Mars where they would remain in space for at least fifty years to kill off any stray microbes to avoid contaminating the planet as the search for life on Mars continues to this day. As far as we know the orbiters still continue to circle the planet.
1976 HUBBLE I
Left photo above is a group of CCDs similar to those made for the Hubble Wide Field/Planetary Camera (WF/PC) Instrument program and donated to DigiCamHistory.Com by James Janesick. Each is about 1/2-inch square and 800 x 800 pixels (.64 MP). The photo on the right was taken by Hubble of a small sliver of space that appeared to be entirely empty when viewed on film. Due to the much greater sensitivity of CCDs versus film, more than ten thousand previously unseen, unknown galaxies appeared. The total number of visible galaxies now exceeds 200 billion.
1977 VOYAGER 1 & 2 (Mariner 11 & 12)
The above vidicon tube is similar to the one used for Mariner 11 & 12, now called Voyager 1 & 2, and was donated to DigiCamHistory.Com by Jim Janesick.
Explanation of diagrams on recording - http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ed/Voyager_Golden_Record_Cover_Explanation.svg
Voices and music recorded - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELnn9V01EiI
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