Photo of the week No.43: Buzz Aldrin on the Moon by Neil Armstrong, 1969

On Monday this week I referenced an article in Atlantic Monthly which asked, ‘What Was the Most Influential Photograph in History?’

I was unimpressed by the choices of the professional photographers in the article. Perhaps I’m overly critical in that their choices could have had some influence, though I don’t know how much. Maybe, it’s the wrong question, for I don’t think a single photo, on its own, can have that much influence.

Anyway, I said I’d make my choice of a supposed influential photo. It’s taken me the rest of the week to think about it, and perhaps I was influenced by one of the photos in the article. I hope I wasn’t.

It’s a photo, taken during the 1969 Apollo 11 mission by mission commander Neil Armstrong of fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin walking on the Moon by the lunar lander. There are many such photos of the Apollo 11 mission. This is the one I prefer. It has it all, Astronaut on the moon, astronaut footprints, reflection in the visor, and the leg of the lunar lander.

A truly staggering achievement.

2 thoughts on “Photo of the week No.43: Buzz Aldrin on the Moon by Neil Armstrong, 1969

  1. Great choice for photo of the week Tim and hard to disagree with, but did you consider this one: Earthrise taken on Christmas Eve 1968 by the crew of Apollo 8, Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders?:

    I was 12 at the time, but vividly recall the hairs on the back of neck standing up as the quotation from Genesis was read out that Christmas eve live from the moon by the crew.

    What a truly remarkable photograph the earth rise was. By reversing the perspective of moonrise, for me, it captured the extraordinary feat achieved by NASA for the first time of placing a crew into lunar orbit as proof of concept for the landing some 7 months later by Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong. Not to forget the extraordinary role played by Mike Collins as Command Module pilot.

    A little off topic: a couple of years ago, during a visit to the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, I had the honour of meeting an Apollo astronaut, Al Worden, Command Module pilot of Apollo 15. What a nice guy. He spent around 3 days alone in the Command Module whilst his crew members Dave Scott and James Irwin were on the surface. During our talk, he related how the orbital height above the moon in preparation for the decent of the Lunar Module, was influenced by so called ‘mascons’ or sub-surface mass concentrations over the Serenity and Imbrium basins which the space craft flew over periodically during its orbit. He said the influence of the mascons dropped the orbital height for landing to around 10 km from the target of around 15 km. Now, I may have the figures wrong from memory, but nonetheless, it was a fascinating insight into the mission. Of course, they had trained for such eventualities, and the Apollo 15 mission proved to be another spectacular success for NASA.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Will, yes I remember that great Earhrise photo, it was made into a large poster, that I am sure I have rolled up in a tube and stored somewhere in my loft.


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