On May 18, the auction “Lunar Images: Space Photography 1950-1999” ended. Participants were offered to purchase 327 photographs depicting the very first rocket launches and manned flights to the Moon. Overall, the collection is a fascinating panorama of the most important scientific missions in history. The two-week auction was held by the famous auction house Christie’s online. The lots, as stated in the auction house, documented “a broad view of the Golden Age of Space Exploration”.
Among the most memorable photos were shots of astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landing on the Moon’s surface as part of the Apollo 11 mission. Moreover, the sale was headed by two images of Buzz Aldrin on the surface of our moon. One of them is dated July 16-24, 1969, in which the pioneer astronaut poses under the US flag against the background of the lunar module “Eagle” – the photo was estimated at 30 thousand pounds (UAH 1.09 million). The second was a picture in which the “Eagle” and Neil Armstrong can be seen in the reflection on the mirror visor of Buzz Aldrin, was sold for 9450 pounds (UAH 345 thousand).
Among other notable lots were two photographs of NASA engineer Ed White making the first spacewalk in the history of the United States in June 1965, one of which was auctioned for 1,386 pounds (UAH 50.5 thousand). A picture of the first approach of the spacecraft, conducted at a colossal speed of 25 thousand km/h, was sold for 1008 pounds (UAH 37 thousand), and a photo of the sunset of the first Saturn V rocket on the launch pad — for 504 pounds (UAH 18.3 thousand).
The auction also included various breathtaking views of the Earth and the Moon captured from space, including the iconic photograph of the “Sunrise of the Earth” over the lunar surface, which went for a whopping 15,120 pounds (UAH 550 thousand).
A complete selection of photos sold at the auction “Lunar Images: Space Photography 1950-1999” can be viewed on the official website of Christie’s.
The auction was coming to the end just as NASA officials announced the estimated launch dates for the Artemis I mission. An important step in efforts to return humans to the Moon’s surface will be an unmanned mission, during which the first comprehensive flight tests of NASA’s Orion spacecraft and the long-awaited Space Launch System (SLS) rocket will be conducted.
Starting from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the mission will last from 26 to 42 days, depending on which launch window is selected — NASA has identified 158 different possibilities in the period from July 26, 2022 to June 30, 2023.
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