Here’s a twist on an old story: On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to ever walk on the moon, cementing the United States as a global powerhouse and exploding the minds of Star Trek fans everywhere. This, we know. We’re often subjected to the standard shots taken by Buzz Aldrin of the grey, rocky surface with a few faceless spacemen standing still and posing. That’s why this photo, rarely seen, is such an impeccable piece of history:
Aldrin snapped this shot of a teary-eyed Armstrong moments after he returned to the spacecraft and removed his helmet. His ecstasy is palpable; it is the face of a man so clearly awe-struck that all he can do is grin and cry. Armstrong would later describe his emotional state as ”elated, ecstatic and extremely surprised that we were successful”–and we see it all, right here.
“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” – Neil Armstrong