David Gallaher was eight years old in 1964, watching satellites twinkling high overhead. That year, the first American to orbit the planet left NASA, the Soviets put the first multi-person crew in orbit, and one tiny satellite, Nimbus 2, was taking grainy black-and-white images of the entire surface of the planet.
Seventeen years before the start of what we know as the “modern satellite record” of sea ice, Nimbus series satellites were snapping images that would turn up on two huge pallets in Gallaher’s office in Colorado 50 years later.
“Holy crap,” Gallaher recalls thinking when he saw the daunting stack of canisters. “We took one box and looked at it, and said, ‘Is this even doable?’”
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Note: This story was retweeted by CBC Quirks & Quarks, Chris Hadfield and Phil Plait, scored over 2000 points on Reddit, and was picked up by IB Times, The Verge, and others. It also led to my first story in National Geographic.