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Availability of recently restored ALSEP data and metadata

Seiichi Nagihara
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Abstract Text: 

In 2010, we recovered 439 open-reel, 7-track, digital magnetic tapes containing the original instrument readouts (i.e., the raw data) from all five Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Packages (ALSEPs) for a three-month period of April through June 1975. These tapes had been stored in the Washington National Records Center in Suitland, MD, unknown to contemporary planetary researchers. During the Apollo era, these tapes were called ‘ARCSAV’ tapes. The ALSEP experiments were conducted from 1969 to 1977, but the whereabouts of most of NASA’s original data archival tapes made prior to 1976 had been unknown. We have recently finished extracting binary files from these ARCSAV tapes, and we are now delivering them to the NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive (NSSDCA) of the Goddard Space Flight Center. We are also processing the data further to make available higher-order, experiment-by-experiment data products. These newly restored data will fill a considerable number of gaps in the current ALSEP data collection at NSSDCA. In parallel to this effort, we have established an on-line archive of ALSEP-related documents and metadata as part of the Lunar Science and Exploration web portal of the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI). Currently, this website ( holds ~700 documents totaling ~40,000 pages. Users of the on-line archive can perform keyword-based searches of these documents. They were originally generated at Johnson Space Center during the Apollo program and moved to LPI at its conclusion. More materials are being added to the archive, as we recover them from the National Archives storage facilities and the document collections of the original ALSEP investigators.

Jacob E. Bleacher1, Michael R. Wright1, Mark L. Lupisella1, Kelsey E. Young1,2, 1 NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, 20771, 2 University of Maryland, College Park, MD, 20742
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Recognizing that science and human exploration are mutually enabling, NASA created the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) to address basic and applied scientific questions fundamental to understanding the Moon, Near Earth Asteroids, the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos, and the near space environments of these target bodies. As a virtual institute, SSERVI funds investigators at a broad range of domestic institutions, bringing them together along with international partners via virtual technology to enable new scientific efforts."