National Geographic : 2017 Jul
In 2015 NASA released a trove of black- and-white photos documenting the American-Soviet space race. The images show command-center crews at tense moments, engineers posing with the Apollo mission software code—and the late John Glenn as a young astronaut suited up for flight (below). Among those sifting through the thousands of images online was Matt Loughrey, a photogra- pher based in the Irish village of Murrisk. Loughrey’s father used to tell him stories of the space race, but it seemed COLORING SPACE By Nina Strochlic PHOTO: NASA; COLORIZATION BY MATT LOUGHREY, MY COLORFUL PAST A GLIMPSE OF WHAT’S NEW AND NEXT FURTHER See FURTHER into space as August’s National Geographic looks at specks of stardust, a radio tele- scope’s cosmic light show, and the future of space travel. monochromatic and distant. He sympa- thized when his own son, at age seven, posed the question: Back then was the world in black-and-white? “I realized that he’d stumbled upon a poignant ob- servation,” says Loughrey. He told his son that the world has always been colorful, but the tools to capture it have changed. Having recently colorized a picture of his grandmother as an experiment, Loughrey imagined how color versions of the NASA photographs could excite a new generation of scientists. Some 300 hours later, using software that predicts the real-life colors in a picture’s gray scale, Loughrey had transformed a dozen im- ages into windows to the vibrant past. HIGH HONORS Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is the 2017 recipient of the prestigious Hubbard Medal, the National Geographic Society’s award given to leading scientists and explorers.