NASA to Digitize Vikings Mission To Reveal Mysteries on Mars
The scientific world just celebrated Viking's 40th year anniversary as the first lander to arrive on Mars. In line with that, the agency plans to digitize all the data gathered by Viking for easier access to valuable information gathered 40 years ago.
Viking's success marked the first planetary exploration attempt of mankind to their nearest neighborhood planet. And because of that, the mission provided significant knowledge about the red planet that is still useful to scientists until today. Today, the data are finally being digitized so it can be of use to future studies.
Originally, the Viking lander data was stored on microfilms, although it stored data successfully, over time, they are bound to be altered by elements and due to technological advancement, the use of microfilm is almost obsolete.
"At one time, microfilm was the archive thing of the future," David Williams, a planetary curation scientist at NASA's Space Science Data Coordinated Archive said in a statement published by the Smithsonian. "But people quickly turned to digitizing data when the web came to be. So now we are going through the microfilm and scanning every frame into our computer database so that anyone can access it online," Williams added.
Some of the data stored in microfilms weren't even seen for 20 years and digitizing them will provide a faster access to valuable data collected by the mission. Some years ago, some scientists required data stored on the microfilms and they realized the difficulty in searching for the data physically to find the required information.
In this day and age, mostly everything is done through a computer and it also time to digitize and preserve data collected by the Viking lander. Part of the data collected by the Viking missions is the high-resolution images of the Martian surface, according to NASA.
The Viking mission and the data gathered paved the way for the revelation of more information about the composition of the Martial soil and its atmosphere, that, 40 years later, are still vital in NASA's upcoming Journey to Mars.