What Video Camera Was Used on the Moon?

The famous Apollo missions to the Moon in the late 1960s and early 1970s were an unprecedented achievement in human history. Not only did humans set foot on another celestial body for the first time, but they also captured some of the most iconic images and videos ever recorded.

One of the most frequently asked questions about these missions is: what video camera was used on the Moon? Let’s find out.

Overview

The video camera used on the Moon was a specially designed camera that was capable of withstanding the harsh conditions of space and providing high-quality video footage. The camera had to be lightweight, compact, and able to operate in extreme temperatures ranging from -280°F (-173°C) to 240°F (116°C). Additionally, it had to be able to withstand radiation exposure and operate with limited power.

Camera Specifications

The camera used on the Apollo missions was called the “Westinghouse Lunar Color Camera.” It was a modified version of a commercial broadcast television camera that Westinghouse Electric Corporation developed for NASA.

The camera weighed just over three pounds and measured approximately seven inches long, three inches wide, and four inches deep. It used a 1-inch Vidicon tube as its imaging sensor, which could capture images at a resolution of 320×200 pixels. The lens had a fixed focus and aperture and could not be changed or adjusted during the mission.

Video Transmission

The video signal from the Lunar Camera was transmitted back to Earth via a high-gain antenna mounted on the lunar module. The signal was then received by one of NASA’s tracking stations on Earth before being broadcasted live to millions of viewers around the world.

  • Broadcast: The live broadcast from Apollo 11 was watched by more than half a billion people worldwide.
  • Frame Rate: The frame rate of the video was 10 frames per second (fps), which was lower than the standard 30 fps used in broadcast television at the time. This was due to the limited bandwidth available for transmitting data from the Moon to Earth.
  • Black and White: The first video transmission from the Moon was actually in black and white. It wasn’t until later missions that color cameras were used.

Conclusion

The Westinghouse Lunar Color Camera used on the Apollo missions to the Moon was a remarkable feat of engineering and technology. Despite its limitations, it captured some of the most iconic images and videos in human history, inspiring generations to come.

As we continue to explore space and push the boundaries of what is possible, it’s important to remember the incredible achievements of those who came before us. And with modern advances in camera technology, who knows what amazing footage we will capture on future missions!