NASA in Colour
By Mark McConville
THE GOLDEN years of NASA’s space race against Soviet Russia have been brought back to life in striking colour thanks to these behind the scenes photographs.
The stunning pictures, which include the real-life scene fictionalised in the Apollo 13 movie where Tom Hanks’ character announces the survival of his crew, offers a new glimpse into the inner workings of the North American Space Agency.
The images, which have been expertly colourised, show intense discussions taking place at Mission Control as well as astronauts in their space suits.
Other revealing images show Mission Control during Apollo 11, when humans first set foot on the moon as well as a candid shot of a NASA software engineer standing beside a pile of books taller than her.
The striking colourisations were carried out by Irish-based colouriser My Colorful Past, from Westport, who spent over 300 hours colourising the images.
“I want people, particularly young people, to see these photographs in colour as a testament to technology, good science and bravery combined,” he said.
“Moreover, several astronauts are leaving us now in that they are in their closing years, it’s a good time to look back.
“I saw an opportunity to match grayscale imagery to colours in the RGB chart and therefore maintain accuracy, that made the project educational and worthwhile.
“You’re seeing the truth of the past using an algorithm to magnify it, you’re seeing hours and hours of work undertaken by hand using a digital stylus, you’re seeing the advent of Apollo, Gemini, Mercury and STS.”
The work forms part of a short visual documentary named Astro and narrated by Micah Cottingham.
My Colourful Past, who uses a WACOM Intous Pro to achieve his outstanding results, hopes his work can shed new light on these historic events.
“People are generally speechless when they see some of this work,” he said.
“I think that’s down to not understanding how it can be done and then realizing that colour brings new meaning to these photographs.
“I began colorizing by chance and realized I had a skill so I investigated further and realized I could expand on the idea, people liked what I produced and requests began to come from the world over.
“I’m a father of two living in the West of Ireland and even though I am geographically isolated, the internet has brought my service to a lot of people.”