NASA Crowdsources Historic Image Archive Data


Who doesn’t love looking at old pictures, especially ones from our first steps? In this case, these pictures are our first steps towards heading to space. NASA just added hundreds of images to The Commons area on the photo sharing site Flickr, and is looking for a little crowd-sourcing help to add data to the images. The public can help tell the photos’ story by adding tags, or keywords, to the images to identify objects and people. In addition, viewers can communicate with other visitors by sharing comments. NASA says these contributions will help make the images easier to find online and add insight about NASA’s history. The image above is the construction of Hanger 1 at NASA’s Ames Research Center, during the 1930’s. Today, the structure is still impressive and the it is first thing you notice when entering Ames, as it dwarfs every other building. But the historic building needs to be refurbished — or else torn down — as it was built with what we now consider toxic materials. Since I just was at Ames, it was fun to see this image of the Hanger’s construction. But there are tons of other images, like the cow pasture that is now home to Johnson Space Center, below, and other great shots of spacecraft, astronauts and more.

An animal shelter and windmill on acreage designated as the site for construction of NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) in Houston, Texas. Credit: NASA

There are three sets of NASA photos now on Flickr: “Launch and Takeoff” set captures iconic spacecraft and aircraft taking flight. “Building NASA” spotlights ground-breaking events and the construction of some of NASA’s one-of-a-kind facilities. The “Center Namesakes” set features photos of the founders and figureheads of NASA’s 10 field centers. Click on the links within the article or on the pictures here to access the images and add your 2 cents, such as your remembrances of events or objects in NASA’s history.

The Commons was launched with the Library of Congress to increase access to publicly-held photography collections and provide a way for the public to contribute information and knowledge.

John Glenn enters his Friendship 7 spacecraft on On Feb. 20, 1962. Credit: NASA

“NASA on The Commons is bringing literally out-of-these-world images to Flickr,” said Douglas Alexander, general manager of Flickr. “We are thrilled to be working with NASA to offer such a rich archive and provide amazing insight into this country’s space program and its early beginnings.”

As the project leader, the New Media Innovation Team at Ames Research Center enlisted the help of NASA
photography and history experts to compile the three image sets for The Commons. The group will continue to create and release new photo sets that highlight different elements, themes or achievements.

If you just want to look at old images, there is also, which provides hundreds of thousands of images and thousands of hours of video, HD video and audio content available free to the public for download.

One Reply to “NASA Crowdsources Historic Image Archive Data”

  1. Actually that is Hangar 1 at Moffet Field Naval Air Station. It was built in 1933 to house the Macon rigid airship. Hangar 1 didn’t become part of NASA Ames Research Center until the mid-1990s, when the Naval Air Station was decommissioned.

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