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.]
This interactive computer-based stereo viewing system was used to analyze Mars topography images generated by the cameras on NASA's Viking 1 Mars lander. Two 17-inch video monitors faced a scanning stereoscope mounted between them on a table. Left and right lander camera image data were sent to the left and right monitors. Panning controls on the stereoscope helped align one image with the other to create a stereo image, 640 by 512 pixels in size. A mouse was used for finely controlled rotation of the monitors. An article about the system described a prototype mouse, used before this photo was taken in 1976. "The track ball is a baseball-sized sphere protruding from the top of a retaining box and capable of being rotated freely and indefinitely about its center ..."
The resulting images could be displayed on additional monitors and were used to create contour maps and other images that aided lander surface operations. The system was developed by Stanford University and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.