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Motherboard

These Historic Space Snapshots Are Like Instagram In Orbit

Out of this world.

by Daniel Stuckey
Sep 4 2013, 9:15pm

"Reprocessed 1966 Lunar Orbiter picture of the Earth and Moon." Image via UCL

The 100-year-old selfies my great great grandfather Herman Bohlman took are better than anything I've ever seen on Instagram. And that's because rather than simply appearing degraded and aged, the pictures contain actual historical value, which is far more fascinating than people pretending it's the 70s on the beach. Same goes in space.

This set of old photos published by University College London now has my eyes popping out—they're like Instagram in space, only they're real. Just in advance of its Festival of the Planets (beginning in London next week), the University has posted its collection of historic space photos.

Venus in 1982, via

While at Motherboard, I've seen hundreds, if not thousands of images of psychadellic nebulaerighteous views of planetsthe Moonthe Sunshipsrenderings, etc., but these ones make me 'ooh' and 'ahh' in a whole different way.

Mars in 1972, via
Same as top image, before reprocessing

Long before the "#space is beautiful" tag on tumblr, NASA's photo of the day, and Wired Science's space photo of the day were dominant conduits by which to find and gawk at space porn, agencies and academics were exchanging hardcopies of photos through standard mail.

Jupiter's moons in 1979, via

As one of seven institutions in the world that received NASA's images in hardcopy form, the University's collection also contains photos from Soviet missions, and looks like the 1910 Map of the Moon from British astronomer, Walter Goodacre. They're nice square-shaped drawings, which if you're into Instragram, you're all about.

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@danstuckey