Space is Free
Quick pop-quiz question for you: What were the first words Neil Armstrong said to NASA mission control when he landed on the moon?
No, they were not, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” They were in fact, “My antenna’s out”, which suggests that in reality, humankind’s greatest moment of discovery actually commenced with technology going wrong. A strangely comforting thing.
We know this because a few years ago we were doing some work for Motorola, exploiting the fact that the company had made the radio transmitters used by Armstrong and NASA during the first moon landing. Our Art Director had an idea that we could visually reproduce all of the conversation containing the famous phrase, depending on whether we could unearth it. Doing so actually turned out to be incredibly easy because NASA diligently archives this sort of thing. What’s really amazing is that because they’re a government agency, NASA doesn’t usually copyright images. And so, as long as you have a non-commercial use for their images, you’re free to reproduce them.
Well, in a world in which rapacious photo libraries are buying up archives everywhere, this seems a beautiful thing.