Auction house Dreweatts & Bloomsbury put a treasure trove of vintage NASA photos up for bid on Thursday. The collection included a series of space firsts, including a selfie captured by astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the first time human eyes saw an Earthrise, and images from the first US spacewalk.
Aldrin was on the selfie bandwagon long before it was an Internet movement. This space selfie was taken in 1966 during the Gemini 12 mission. A vintage print sold for around $9,200.
These days, spacewalks are still major events, with NASA Television providing live coverage. The first US spacewalk took place in 1965 during the Gemini 4 mission. Astronaut James McDivitt took this dramatic photo of fellow astronaut Ed White outside the spacecraft. Earth is visible in the background.
This first image of the Earth as seen from the area of the moon gave humans a new perspective on their home. NASA's Lunar Orbiter captured this image in 1966. A vintage gelatin silver print of this photo sold at auction for about $2,630.
The auction of vintage NASA photographs included this image of Mars taken by the Mariner 4 spacecraft. Subsequent NASA missions have given us a much clearer look at the Red Planet, but this image from 1965 was groundbreaking, providing the "first view of another planet from above the Earth's atmosphere."
The vintage photo's caption reads: "The horizon as photographed at an altitude of 65 miles. At this point the camera was theoretically 720 miles from the horizon and the picture shows 40,000 square miles of space."
The Gemini 8 mission in 1966 featured the first docking of two spacecraft in orbit, as seen in this image. The spacecraft were soon forced to undock due to a system failure. Crew members aborted the mission and returned safely to Earth.
In 1967, humans got to see the first color image of the Earth taken from outer space.
"This rare image was taken from 18,000 miles with a black and white TV camera which took three photographs with red, green and blue filters to create the colour image. The small disc in front of the picture is a colour match card," Dreweatts & Bloomsbury auction house notes. A vintage chromogenic print on fiber-based Kodak paper sold for nearly $500 during an auction of NASA photos.
The historic Apollo 11 moon mission in 1969 provided the denizens of Earth with the first photograph of a man standing on the surface of another world. Taken by astronaut Neil Armstrong, the image shows Buzz Aldrin on the moon, setting up a solar wind sheet. A vintage print of the photo sold for $4,320 at auction.
Astronaut William Anders was a member of the Apollo 8 mission in 1968. Apollo 8 was the first manned spacecraft to leave Earth orbit. It orbited the moon, giving the crew the opportunity to become the first humans to witness an Earthrise, as seen in this photo. A vintage print on Kodak paper sold for nearly $12,300.