Neil Armstrong spent more than two hours on the moon. But there are few clear photos of him there among the iconic images from that voyage.

The famous footprint photo was of Armstrong’s fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Same with the pictures of Buzz stepping off the lunar modulesaluting the U.S. flag, and that famous portrait of Buzz on the surface of the moon. (It should be noted, however, that if you look very closely, you can see Armstrong in the refection of Aldrin’s helmet.) The only pictures of Armstrong were a few fuzzy images from the TV camera and the famous 16mm film.

But one surfaced in 1987, almost two decades after the historic event when two British researchers found a panorama of the moon’s surface taken by Aldrin that shows Armstrong working on the Apollo 11 lunar module. That photo of Armstrong is among the images up for auction this week in London, which include images of some of the pioneering astronauts and the first photo of the planet taken from space in 1946 from a camera fitted on a V-2 missile launched from the White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico.

“It’s incredible to realise that many photographs in this auction were unknown to the general public for decades until the complete NASA photographic archive began to appear digitally on the internet,” Sarah Wheeler of Bloomsbury Auctions said in a press release. “These photographs are more than merely documentary, many are simply sublime. They represent a golden age in the history of photography as well, when a few men went to the unknown to bring back awe-inspiring pictures. The view of the first Earthrise over the lunar horizon changed Man’s relationship with the cosmos forever.”

Here’s a look some of the images from the collection:

The auction “From the Earth to the Moon: Vintage NASA Photographs” will be held on Feb. 26. You can view the catalogue here.


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