I don't think that anyone expected in 1987 or 1988 that we would now have the resolution that we have now.
I guess my point is that we don't
have resolution. We have a priori
knowledge of what the registry is. Without that, you could not
tell whether that nacelle text says "NCC-2541" or "SMOOCHIES". The pixels just aren't there - it must be all in your head, in the "I can see Lenin's face in the oil stain" sense that is built into our sensory systems. That is, an objective image enhancement system of CSI:Kalamazoo
quality would reveal "SMOOCHIES" with the same probability as "NCC-2541"
The separate fact that the model has the NCC-2541 labeling is more in the category of the model also having a motion control rod attachment point at the bottom of the secondary hull. It's purely backstage stuff.