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Technology The National Archives preserve JFK assassination bullets with 3D scans

06:30  06 december  2019
06:30  06 december  2019 Source:   engadget.com

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The 56th anniversary of President John F . Kennedy 's assassination is later this month. Early next year, you'll be able to see, in almost nauseating detail, the bullets that took his life. The National Archives will upload high-definition 3 D images of the projectiles to its online catalog.

Why do this, so many years after President Kennedy ’s tragic death? The mission of the National This project will allow the Archives to release the 3 D replicas to the public while the originals remain This allowed the scans to record the depth of minute scratches in the metallic surface of the artifacts.

The 56th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination is later this month. Early next year, you'll be able to see, in almost nauseating detail, the bullets that took his life. The National Archives will upload high-definition 3D images of the projectiles to its online catalog.

a close up of a black background

To create the replicas, the National Archives enlisted the help of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and its ballistics team, which employed a technique called focus variation microscopy. It involved using a microscope with multiple lenses at different focal lengths to photograph the artifacts. By analyzing the images, and seeing which ones were in focus, the team was able to create 3D surface maps of the projectiles. According to NIST, imaging the bullets took "countless hours."

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The National Archives established the John F . Kennedy Assassination Records Collection in November 1992, and it consists of approximately five million pages of records. The vast majority of the collection has been publicly available without any restrictions since the late 1990s.

The National Archives has recently digitized many materials relating to his assassination . Below are digitized images of records that have previously only November 22, 2013, commemorates 50 years since JFK was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. The National Archives has recently digitized many

a person standing in front of a computer: NIST microscope© Provided by Engadget NIST microscope

"I've stared at them so much I can draw them from memory," said Thomas Brian Renegar, one of the scientists who worked on the project. The results, however, speak for themselves. Not only can you see things like the grooves created by the barrel rifling of the gun, but there are also details like scratches that are invisible to the naked eye.

In addition to the two bullets that killed President Kennedy, you can also see the famous "stretcher bullet" that plays an important role in the single-bullet theory of the assassination. This projectile is said to have hit both the president and Texas Governor John Connally. It was found lying next to Connally at the hospital, who survived the shooting after undergoing four hours of surgery. NIST also created replicas of two bullets authorities fired with Lee Harvey Oswald's rifle and another bullet that is thought to have been fired by the same firearm in an earlier murder attempt.

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The day John F . Kennedy was assassinated has sparked conspiracy theories, impacted witnesses for a lifetime and even inspired a JFK assassination tour.

The single- bullet theory (or the magic- bullet theory, as it is commonly called by its critics) was introduced by the Warren Commission in its investigation of the assassination of U.S. President

Kennedy Bullet© Provided by Engadget Kennedy Bullet

The National Archives says it receives "many" requests to see the bullets. By recreating them digitally, the agency feels it can strike a compromise between preserving them and allowing giving the public a chance to see them.

And they aren't the first public institution to take that tack. In 2016, the Smithsonian Institute created a high-resolution 3D scan of Apollo 11's Columbia command module. Perhaps what's most interesting about the Kennedy bullet preservation is that the project has practical applications. Typically, NIST's ballistics team uses its expertise to help authorities identify firearms used in crimes. The Kennedy bullets were so bent and warped by time and other elements that the agency had to develop new techniques to image them. They say those techniques will be useful in future cases.

National Institute of Standards and Technology

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