Buzz Aldrin has always seemed to enjoy the notoriety he achieved as one of the first men to walk on the moon, and he's used that notoriety to work as an advocate for space exploration and education. Luckily for us, he's also used it to talk time and time again about what those groundbreaking early days of spaceflight were like, and that's led to plenty of interesting tales from orbit, including the time he took what's believed to be the first "selfie" in space.
Later this week. Bloomsbury Auctions in London will sell off more than 1,000 vintage space-age prints. They include the very first photo ever taken from space (by a camera mounted on a V2 rocket that was launched in October 1946), the "Earthrise" photo taken from Apollo 8 as the Earth appeared on the moon's horizon, and Aldrin's iconic photo of his own bootprint on the lunar surface, taken while he and Neil Armstrong conducted the very first moonwalk in 1969.
The collection, which is expected to fetch a total of $750,000 to $1 million, will also include this iconic image taken by Aldrin during the 1966 Gemini 12 mission, which Aldrin calls the first space selfie.
The photo quickly went viral after Aldrin tweeted it last summer, and spawned a new wave of astronauts on board the International Space Station taking their own selfies while in orbit. In an interview with CNN, Aldrin explained that he and fellow Gemini 12 astronaut Jim Lovell (who would later famously take part in the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission) were asked by a researcher to take ultraviolet photos of stars during the night phase of their orbit, so they had fixed a camera pointing out of the Gemini capsule to capture the images. As their orbit took them through sunlight, the camera couldn't capture the ultraviolet light of distant stars, but it could capture Aldrin and sunlit North America below.
"During the day pass, I'm looking down at the Astro Dome, some of the lakes around Houston," Aldrin said. "So, what am I going to do during the daytime? Look at the camera and hit the button. What for? I dunno. I wondered what I'd look like."
The images, including Aldrin's selfie, are set to head to auction tomorrow, and if you think you've got the cash, Bloomsbury has information on online bidding HERE.
(Via ABC 7)