Lost NASA Archive of Historic Viking Mission’s First Ever Exploration of Martian Surface Recovered

Indie software studio Cartesian Theatre is pleased to announce the successful digital recovery of the first photographs ever returned from the surface of Mars (see avaneya.com). The studio recovered a substantial amount of NASA’s previously inaccessible Viking mission data. The historic billion-dollar mission to Mars was the most ambitious in history. Launched in 1975, it was the first to successfully reach and photograph the surface of the Red Planet.

The raw mission data was placed in the public domain in 1995 by a division at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). In the early 1990’s JPL technicians discovered the original 20 year old Viking magnetic tapes were deteriorating and transferred the data to more stable CDs. However, the data was nearly lost to history again with the original proprietary technology essential to unlocking it abandoned decades prior - akin to an email attachment a recipient cannot open (present, albeit unusable).

The indie startup has made its début in authoring Avaneya: Viking Lander Remastered (VLR), a digital forensic archaeological package which runs on a home computer. The software features alayman’s point-and-click user interface, powerfully analyzing and recovering photographs within the 14-gigabyte historic mission tape archive included on the DVD. An assistant manager with the JPL remarked:

Fortunately, we were successful in salvaging the data thru the migration from magnetic tape to CD so that someone, someday could write software to read and use the data.

The VLR was initially intended as an internal research tool to facilitate the studio’s need for reference material to assist in the production of lucid and highly realistic virtual environments for its ambitious upcoming cerebral science fiction game title, Avaneya (pronounced ‘av-an-EH-uh’). Public interest, however, inspired the studio to consider the data recovery challenge in a different light - as a creative opportunity to leverage crowdsourcing to offset costly research and development of the game, as well as act in the direct interest of the general public.

The VLR is geared towards a wide range of users including educators, technologists, science fiction fans, space-science and astronomy enthusiasts, hobbyists, photographers, and gamers alike. The technology is software libre, released under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 3. DVDs can be purchased at the product order page below for $15 CAD or equivalent in bitcoins.

About Cartesian Theatre

Cartesian Theatre is a small, pioneering, Canadian software studio with its primary research and development in White Rock, British Columbia. The company specializes in pushing the envelope in the advancement of the libre arts, culture, and technology by striving to enhance the desktop experience of the tens of millions of users worldwide of the GNU operating system and its popular incarnations, such as Ubuntu.

News Source:  https://www.avaneya.com/content/news/News%20Release%20-%20VLR%20Debut.pdf

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