‘In the summer of 1889, when this was still an analog world, a young astronomer named Solon I. Bailey carefully packed two crates of glass photographic plates taken at his outpost in the Peruvian Andes for shipment to Harvard College Observatory. Carried down the mountain on muleback and across a suspension bridge to the village of Chosica, the fragile load was put on a train bound for Lima and the long voyage to Boston Harbor.
‘For nearly 18 months the data stream continued
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