An iconic portrait of famed NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the moon and the first Earthrise seen by humans from the lunar surface in 1968 are among 1,200 photographs and ephemera objects to be sold February 22 at Dreweatts, an auction house in Donnington, England, for a virtual sale. The rare pieces come from the collection of the late British journalist Tim Furniss, who worked as a journalist between 1984 and 2006 Flight international The magazine’s space correspondent and are being auctioned off by his son Thomas Furniss.
the portrait von Aldrin (estimated at £8,000-12,000 or $10,872-16,308), the second man on the moon, was captured by Neil Armstrong, who forestalled him at the moonfall and whose reflection can be seen in his subject’s helmet. The Lunar Lander Eagle—the spacecraft that helped Apollo 11 land safely on the moon—also features in Aldrin’s face shield. Taken on July 20, 1969, the photo immediately became iconic and went viral on the cover of Life Magazines and reproduced worldwide. Aldrin himself later commented that he remembered the moon more from these photos than from his memories.
Another image that quickly became ingrained in the collective consciousness was a photo of Earth rising over the lunar horizon on Christmas Eve 1968. Taken in color by Apollo 8 crew members on their first orbit around the moon, the photo shows the gray, cratered lunar surface in the foreground and a crescent-shaped Earth in the distance. The photo, estimated at £4,000-6,000 or $5,435-8,153, channeled the spirit of human triumphalism during a turbulent political era and marked the eerie beginnings of mankind’s ability to see their own homes from above. It was “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” as Armstrong famously said.
Other lots contain items that are less immediately recognizable but provide a fuller picture of the specifics, scientific study, and broader culture of space exploration in the late 20th century. ONE Press The first color photograph taken of the surface of Mars in July 1976 shows rugged, rock-speckled terrain appearing in a magenta hue. The photo was taken on the day the viking 1 landed as the first unmanned spacecraft on Mars.
ONE diptych of photographs fondly recalls the life of Laika, a stray husky-spitz mix sent into space by the Soviet Union Sputnik 2 and the first animal to orbit the earth in 1957. Unfortunately, she died shortly after takeoff. Armed with sensors and outfitted in a spacesuit, Laika, which scientists knew would be doomed, was launched into space as part of a test run to see if human spaceflight was viable. Between 1951 and 1966 the Soviet Union harnessed dogs inside Spaceships 71 times. ONE photo which tells a story with a happier ending, captures Miss Baker, a squirrel monkey being clasped in gloved human hands. Miss Baker became the first animal to survive a space flight in 1959 and eventually lived to be 27 after retiring.
A NASA concept because a space station was rebuilt even before the energy later concentrated almost single-mindedly on a mission to the moon. Illustrated by John Sentovic, the space station was conceived by Krafft Ehricke, an assistant to the technical director at Convair, a division of General Dynamics Corporation, and is featured on the cover of space flight. Designed for four people, it promised the possibility of short-term human existence in space. The illustration’s sleek, geometric Art Deco style embodies the technological aspirations of the time, if somewhat rudimentary in engineering and design.
Finally, a remarkably meditative one photo dampens Blastoff’s adrenaline rush by framing it with the curve of a gnarled log resting in a pond. Two birds can even be seen on the horizon. Its unique composition suggests a corrective to the Cold War-era space race, which imbued the human spirit of discovery with a dark, warlike streak.