writes "NASA launched the Viking Lander in 1975. This ambitious project was the first to successfully reach and photograph the surface of Mars. The public domain data was stored magnetic tapes, state of the art at the time but discovered to be deteriorating in the '90's. Even though the data was transferred to CD's, it's in a now inaccessible proprietary format that even NASA itself can't decode. Now "a small, pioneering, Canadian software studio" Cartesian Theatre, which is developing Avaneya , a GPL game for Linux, has reverse-engineered this format and released Avaneya: Viking Landing Remastered with the 14 gig historic mission data set on the DVD.
Their original purpose was "initially intended as an internal research tool to facilitate the studio's need for reference material to assist in the production of lucid and highly realistic virtual environments for its ambitious upcoming cerebral science fiction game title, Avaneya . Public interest, however, inspired the studio to consider the data recovery challenge in a different light – as a creative opportunity to leverage crowd sourcing to offset costly research and development of the game, as well as in the direct interest of the general public.""Link to Original Source