NASA - The Moon, Apollo 8. First Footprint on the Lunar Surface, Apollo 11
The Moon, Apollo 8. First Footprint on the Lunar Surface, Apollo 11
2 vintage chromogenic prints on Kodak paper. 44.2 x 40.8 cm (50.5 x 40.8 cm) and 43 x 41 cm (50.5 x 41 cm).
When the astronauts of Apollo 8 succeeded in entering the moon’s orbit for the first time on 24 December 1968, they gave mankind a very special Christmas present: With their unique images of earth’s satellite, they expanded our view of the universe – the “Dark Side of the Moon”, the side of the moon facing away from the earth, had never been seen before. This picture of the full moon offered for sale only initially appears to be that view which we have always known. The dark patch of the Mare Crisium at the top left edge of the planet can also be seen with the naked eye from earth, whilst wide areas of the moon’s surface captured here in the picture are usually in darkness from our perspective.
After orbiting the moon ten times, the astronauts set off on 25 December on their return to their home planet. Only a few months later, on 20 July 1969, their colleagues from Apollo 11 provided us with pictures following their successful landing on the moon – images which went around the world and have been published countless times to this day. One of the most famous shots is undoubtedly the boot print left by Buzz Aldrin during the two and a half hour “walk” on the surface of the Mare Tranquilitatis. Although it was his colleague Neil Armstrong who was the first person to step on the moon shortly before him, its clear focus on the footprint in the rising dust vividly illustrates that famous sentence with which Armstrong commented the mission: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
In contrast to the large number of small format C-prints released by NASA, prints in this large size are very rare. They were reserved for the leading scientists, state guests or management personnel of those companies with which NASA worked closely on its missions. The photographs offered here for auction are from a director of the technology corporation TRW Inc., which has been one of NASA’s main suppliers since the early 1950s and was involved in the development of the lunar modules.