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'Blue Marble' Photo, First Space Selfie Up for Grabs

2.4K vintage photos showcase the golden age of space exploration
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2020 12:20 PM CST

(Newser) – The only photograph showing Neil Armstrong walking on the moon is set to go to the highest bidder. Christie's is auctioning off some 2,400 rare NASA images amassed by French collector Victor Martin-Malburet, and though the one of Armstrong is expected to fetch the highest price, an estimated $63,000, there are plenty more iconic images up for grabs, per CNN. Among them: the famous "Blue Marble" photo, the first fully illuminated image of Earth taken by a human, in 1972; the first selfie in space, a 1966 photo in which Buzz Aldrin's face appears to float above the curve of Earth; the first human-taken "Earthrise" photo showing our planet rising over a barren moon, taken in 1968; the first shot of the back side of the moon, taken in 1959; and a photo of Laika, the first dog to orbit Earth, awaiting launch on the Soviet Union's Sputnik 2 in 1957.

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Christie's calls it the "most comprehensive private collection of NASA photographs ever presented at auction," including "every visual milestone of the space program, from the early days of Mercury, the technical advances of Gemini and Lunar Orbiter, to the triumphs of Apollo." Some of the images have never been shared publicly and could only be accessed by researchers visiting the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, per CNN. Martin-Malburet, 39, amassed the collection over 15 years, snagging some photos from the astronauts themselves, per the Guardian. The 2,400 images are spread across 700 lots on Christie's website, with bids starting at about $132. The "Blue Marble" photo is expected to sell for up to $31,500 and the "Earthrise" photo for up to $37,800, per CNN. Bidding closes on Nov. 19 or 20, depending on the item. (Read more NASA stories.)

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