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Trove of rare NASA photos of 'golden age of space exploration' up for auction

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Trove of rare NASA photos of 'golden age of space exploration' up for auction
Among the photos up for auction by Christie's is this picture of astronaut Ed White during the first U.S. spacewalk. Photo courtesy of Christie's

Nov. 10 (UPI) -- The only photograph of Neil Armstrong on the Moon, the first Earthrise and panoramas shot by each of the 12 astronauts who walked on the surface of the orbiting satellite are among a trove of thousands of original photographs documenting "the golden age of space exploration" up for auction by Christie's.

"The collective is the most comprehensive private collection of NASA photographs ever presented at auction, and spans 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," Christie's said in a release.

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Titled Voyage to Another World, the collection of some 2,400 photographs in 700 lots with estimated values ranging from $1,060 to $40,000 were curated over 15 years by Victor Martin-Malburet, and includes a catalog comprised from NASA transcripts that "retraces mankind's first journey to another world, step by step," the auction house said.

"The astronauts are often portrayed as great scientists and heroes, but rarely are they hailed as some of the most significant photographers of all time," Martin-Malburet said. "From the thin protections of their space capsules and EMUs (extravehicular Mobility Units), they captured, with skill and daring, photographs, which immediately embraced the iconography of the sublime, inspiring awe and wonder."

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Christie's said the astronauts were instructed by specialists from NASA and photography companies Hasselblad, Kodak and Zeiss as well as Life and National Geographic photographers on using the analog technology of the day.

"Through their cameras, the astronauts-turned-artists were able to convey to mankind the beauty and profundity of their experience into space, forever changing the way we see ourselves and our place in the universe," the release said.

The online auction is open from Nov. 6-20.

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