An Australian scientist hopes to restore a vintage, refrigerator-sized IBM tape drive stored in a museum to recover Apollo moon mission data the space agency misplaced nearly 40f years ago. NASA's only means of measuring moon dust during its Apollo missions has gone largely unappreciated until recently, reports Australia's ABC …
Surely this is rather easy ....
Far be it for me to suggest the "specialist data recovery firm" dont really know what they are doing, but .. I have a sneaky suspicion the specialist data recovery firm don't really know what they are doing.
A 729 drive is a fairly impressive beasty, vacuum columns for the tapes, complex stop.start pinch roller assemblies and a data interface to make your ears bleed ...
However ... reading these tapes could be relatively simple and easily accomplished on some rather hum-drum everyday equipment ... don't forget, the major complication of the 729 was its ability to stop and start the tape in a 3/4" length of tape space ... important if you are reading in records live to a program or executing from tape ... but all we need to do here is recover the data from the tape as it stands! ... a regular 1/2" audio tape deck (I could probably point them in the direction of few nice Studer A80's for minimal cash) with a custom head (£500 roughly, not that expensive to have made up) and you could replay he data at a constant rate ... digitize it and sort it out later. Once the data is recovered and digitized, recovering the information is relatively trivial.
I'll wager the 729, even if they get it goiong, will eat a few tapes during the replay process, using a modern deck to recover the raw signals and digiise them is a MUCH saner plan.
IBM could but...
IBM could build a new tape drive from the old blueprints. The trouble is they were scanned and saved to IBM tapes. So they need to build a tape drive to read the data on how to build a tape drive...ad infinitum. Should have used paper tape at least you can read that by eye.
RIAA will probably sue them in court if they post the results of the data online for everyone to benefit from
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