James McDivitt and Ed White walking in space over Hawaii, June 1965

Liftoff of the last lunar mission, Apollo 17, December 1972

Apollo 11 lift-off seen from the top of the launch gantry, July 1969

Crescent Earth from 10,000 miles, Apollo 4, November 1967

Earth eclipsing the sun, seen from Apollo 12, November 1969

Florida keys from orbit, Gemini 4, June 1965

Harrison Schmitt, Eugene Cernan, and the antenna on the Apollo 17 rover, December 1972

James Irwin, David Scott and the lunar rover, Apollo 15, August 1971

James McDivitt, Ed White walking in space, Gemini 4, June 1965

Jupiter and its moon Io seen from Voyager 2, June 1979

Buzz Aldrin’s gold-plated visor reflects Neil Armstrong and the lunar module of Apollo 11, July 1969

Owen Garriott working outside the spacecraft, Skylab 3, August 1973

An astronaut climbs through the open hatch of Apollo 9's Command Module, March 1969

Saturn, as seen from Voyager 1, 1980

Splashdown of the Apollo 14 command module, February 1971

The first Earthrise ever witnessed by human eyes, from Apollo 8, December 1968


16 Amazing Photographs From NASA's Golden Age

See images of the first moonwalk, the first Earthrise seen from human eyes, and the first shuttle launch from Kennedy Space Center, all showcased in a glorious new exhibition.

As exciting as the future of space travel may be, its past is just as thrilling. For All Mankind: Vintage NASA Photographs 1964-1983, a new exhibition at London art gallery Breese Little, showcases more than 100 photographs from the golden age of space exploration. The photographs depict NASA from babyhood (Eisenhower established NASA in 1958) to adolescence, picturing the first spacewalk by a United States astronaut (Edmund White in 1965), the first Earthrise witnessed by human eyes (1968), the first walk on the moon (1969), the first-ever shuttle launch at Kennedy Space Center (1981), and the first rendezvous of two spacecraft in space (even rockets get lonely).

New research released by the University of California Berkeley and the University of Hawaii suggests that there are likely to be 40 billion Earth-like planets capable of, or with the potential to, support life in the Milky Way alone. "The chances of a solitary existence are clearly dwindling, and the photographs included here are important historical artifacts from the dawn of the space age and this quest to know what lies beyond," Henry Little writes in the exhibition’s catalog. Maybe someday we’ll look back on these early NASA photos as nostalgic relics of peacetime before the outbreak of intergalactic warfare, or as a regrettable history of how we wound up living on hot, crappy Mars. But for now, they’re simply stunning reminders of the vastness of the universe and the power of human innovation to do the seemingly impossible.

For All Mankind: Vintage NASA Photographs 1964-1983 is on view at Breese Little in London until February 22nd.

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