Before personal computers, web sites, email, smart phones, and social media were commonplace, JPL posted mission photos on a bulletin board in the mall, with a caption by each photo. This was the only way for most employees to see the images that were released to the public.
In July 1976, JPL celebrated the arrival of the Viking 1 lander on Mars. Many images were received from the Viking orbiter and lander during that summer and some were assembled (by hand) into panoramas and mosaics. Photos were displayed by closed-circuit television during the landing event to groups of visitors in a few locations on Lab, and were filmed or broadcast by visiting news crews. Hard copy photos were distributed to the news media. A small set of images from each JPL mission was typically selected for distribution to all JPLers, along with a letter of congratulations and thanks for their contributions. Decades later, many of these photographs and lithographs have found their way to the JPL Archives.
For more information about the history of JPL, contact the JPL Archives for assistance. [Archival and other sources: JPL photo albums and indexes; JPL Annual Reports, and The Viking Mission to Mars.]
Surveyor mission planning began in 1960. The mission included seven spacecraft that would soft land on the Moon, using three vernier engines and a retrorocket. The spacecraft would collect data and images of the surface, in order to ensure a safe landing for Apollo astronauts a few years later. Hughes Aircraft Company was selected to design and build the landers and the project was managed by JPL, which also provided tracking and communications. Surveyor I was launched on May 31, 1966, landed on the Moon June 2, and sent back more than 11,000 photos of the lunar surface. The entire image set from Surveyors 1-7 has recently been digitized, and will soon be added to NASA’s Planetary Data System.
This image was created by Hughes artist Carlos Lopez. It was used in a Surveyor poster, which was a common practice in the days before computer aided drawing. This poster was recently received by the JPL Archives, as part of a collection of Surveyor documentation.
For more information about the history of JPL, contact the JPL Archives for assistance. [Archival and other sources: Surveyor Mission Reports, Ranger and Surveyor Fact Sheet, and the NASA Historical Data Book.]