They drove to Los Angeles, where the refrigerator-sized drives were being stored in a backyard shed surrounded by chickens.At the same time, they retrieved the tapes from a storage unit in nearby Moorpark, and things gradually began to take shape.You won’t get a burger there, though–its cash registers and soft-serve machines have given way to old tape drives and modern computers run by a rogue team of hacker engineers who’ve rechristened the place Mc Moon’s.
Several abortive attempts were made to recover data from the tapes, which were well kept, but it wasn’t until 2005 that NASA engineer Keith Cowing and space entrepreneur Dennis Wingo were able to bring the materials and the technical know how together.
When they learned through a Usenet group that former NASA employee Nancy Evans might have both the tapes and the super-rare Ampex FR-900 drives needed to read them, they jumped into action.
The data they recovered then had to be demodulated and digitized, which added more layers of technical difficulties.
The resulting framelets had to be individually reassembled in Photoshop.
After kluging through countless engineering problems (try finding a chemical substitute for whale oil to lubricate tape heads), the LOIRP team was able to single out and reproduce the famous earthrise image.