New Tech from NASA Transforms Archival Moon Landing Footage

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera simulates the view from the Apollo 11 lunar module in a captivating high-definition reconstruction.
Rebecca Warren
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the moonNASA

We are all familiar with the spectacular-yet-staccato video of the Apollo 11 moon landing. To our modern eyes, accustomed to ever-increasing video streaming clarity, watching the video from 1969 seems almost surreal in its lack of resolution and smooth ticking over of each frame-per-second.

Making the old feel new

Advances in technology allowed NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) team to take the archival footage of the moon landing and improve its quality. Taming the jerky video into a more palatable viewing experience required a team of technical experts. 


How they did it

NASA explains the process used to create the video, saying  “The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) team reconstructed the last three minutes of the landing trajectory (latitude, longitude, orientation, velocity, altitude) using landmark navigation and altitude call outs from the voice recording. From this trajectory information, and high resolution LROC Narrow Angle Camera (LROC NAC) images and topography, we simulated what Armstrong saw in those final minutes as he guided the LM down to the surface of the Moon."