I've seen radiation issues on filmstock where it kind of lightens up the image, lowers contrast. Deep sea cold, or near volcanic temperatures could affect the filmstock/roll.

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    I don't know but i am betting that 392 deg f will melt the film completely if not to the point that it all sticks together. Again i don't know but i think The cold would not damage it unless you tried to use it / unroll at that temp then it would break. I freeze film and use it, freezing is freezing unless some crystallization thing would happen to the emulsion at that temp. try it and let us know.
    – Alaska Man
    Mar 11, 2017 at 16:10

4 Answers 4


The 70mm film probably has Estar base - I am sure the temperatures allowed are published somewhere. There is also the emulsion which melts around 50C. Higher temps wil permanently damage the image.

As far as the low temperatures, it will most likely survive -200C, which is approx around liquid nitrogen temp. Anything around -200C will become extremely brittle. So you will have to be careful about manipulation.


Maybe, leaning towards probably. A point in your favor is that NASA used Ektachrome film in the space program and some rather famous photographs were made in space where the extremes of temperature and radiation vary widely.

Hasselblad 550C medium format cameras were used more than any other type in the early years of the space program, and they used 70mm film.

Here is an except from Photography During Apollo:

Each film magazine would typically yield 160 color and 200 black and white pictures on special film. Kodak was asked by NASA to develop thin new films with special emulsions. On Apollo 8, three magazines were loaded with 70 mm wide, perforated Kodak Panatomic-X fine-grained, 80 ASA, b/w film, two with Kodak Ektachrome SO-168, one with Kodak Ektachrome SO-121, and one with super light-sensitive Kodak 2485, 16,000 ASA film. There were 1100 color, black and white, and filtered photographs returned from the Apollo 8 mission.

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    The cameras used for EVA activity in the 1960s by NASA were modified and used in ways to protect the internals from extreme temperatures, especially heat. They had external heat shielding. Film cameras were only exposed to the extreme temperatures for very limited time periods before being stored back inside environmentally controlled spacecraft. The internal temperature of the film magazines didn't allow the film to heat to anywhere near the same temperatures as moon rocks (max of 123ºC) or external parts of spacecraft.
    – Michael C
    Mar 11, 2017 at 19:50
  • @MichaelClark Your absolutely right. The OP did not specify what type of camera or application, but the only place I knew of that offered such extremes is extra-atmosphere and thus I went that route. I was actually wondering why the OP asked about the film but not the camera, or other methods. Mar 12, 2017 at 3:30
  • Nasa has also mentioned leaving 12 cameras on the Moon, in that case, the film was taken out of the camera at one point, inside the module I suppose, then thrown out.
    – NormLDude
    Apr 13, 2017 at 21:09

I just did a test with film in the oven at moon temps. The oven caused it to draw up into itself. It could be seen at some angles a bit warped as well. If left in longer it would be obvious more damage would be caused. I Shot it on video and posted to YouTube. I tested 35mm film that I had around the house and thought I'd do the test and see how it does and then maybe buy some 70mm or someone watching the video might have some around the house to try.

I also read where NASA said the film was specially made, then later I saw a video where someone asked Kodak if they had it made special and they said they did not make a special film. I also read where the cameras were equipped for high heat at a NASA history site, where more information can be found.

  • Welcome! Can you please explain the results of your testing without requiring us to watch the video? If the video gets taken down for some reason, this answer becomes generally unhelpful. Additionally, posting what NASA said and a link to the article in the answer is also recommended... again, we shouldn't need to go to your video to know the answer to the question. Thanks!
    – Catija
    Dec 7, 2017 at 22:14
  • i added a brief of the outcome in the first paragraph
    – Kelly1800
    Dec 7, 2017 at 22:38
  • Added the link to the site that talks about the equipped cameras too
    – Kelly1800
    Dec 7, 2017 at 23:08

Moon surface temperatures can be crazy high or crazy low. Just like Earth temps. But of course -200C and +200C are just made up numbers. Actual Max high is 260 degrees Fahrenheit (127 degrees Celsius). When the sun goes down, temperatures can dip to minus 280 F (minus 173 C). But of course these are extremes (not normal), and occur over the moon's 650 hour long day. They are also surface temperatures (The ground) An asphalt road in the noon sun can reach 200+F on Earth (how have you survived?) An easy way to moderate the temperature is to arrive in the early morning. All Apollo missions did. And no Apollo mission when to the equated for the max temp, or the North/South Pole for the minimum.

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