[FPSPACE] Forgotten Apollo Data Could Solve Moon Dust Problem

LARRY KLAES ljk4 at msn.com
Wed Nov 12 06:28:11 EST 2008

November 10, 2008

Forgotten Apollo Data Could Solve Moon Dust Problem

Written by Nancy Atkinson

Old, forgotten data from three Apollo moon missions could help overcome one 
of the biggest environmental hurdles facing future lunar colonists. 
Pervasive moon dust can clog equipment, scratch helmet visors –or worse, get 
inside astronaut lungs and cause serious health problems. But 173 data tapes 
hold information that could be essential in overcoming the problems the dust 

The only trouble is that the tapes are archived on "ancient" 1960's 
technology and no one could find the right equipment to playback the tapes. 
However, the Australian Computer Museum has an old IBM729 Mark 5 tape drive 
that should do the trick, IF the machine can be restored to operable 
condition again…

The IBM729 Mark 5 tape recorder is about as big as a household refrigerator. 
It recorded data from Apollo 11, 12 and 14 missions that carried "dust 
detectors." Information from the detectors was beamed back to earth and 
recorded onto tapes. Copies of the tapes were supposedly sent to NASA, but 
the tapes were lost or misplaced before they could be archived in NASA's 
holdings. But the original data tapes have sat in Perth, Australia for 
almost 40 years.

Physicist Brian O'Brien invented the detectors. He wrote a couple of papers 
on the information in the 1970's, but no one was very interested in moon 
dust back them. However now, scientists realize this information could help 
make future missions to the moon more feasible.

Full article here:


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