Mars from Distance of 560.000 Miles,” captured by Viking Orbiter II on June 17, 1976 (all images ©NASA)

In the early 20th century, the world watched in anticipation as Stetson-capped explorers disappeared into the Amazon jungle. By the 1960s, it was equally intrepid astronauts that commanded attention. Today, while anyone with a strong enough desire can visit the rainforest, very few will still ever enter outer space.

A collection of vintage photographs of NASA’s early missions might offer the next best thing. Currently on view at Daniel Blau in London, the images were taken from manned and unmanned aircrafts like the Apollo, the Viking, and the Voyager. They feature some of US astronautic history’s most iconic moments — Buzz Aldrin stepping on the moon, planting a flag on lunar soil — as well as close-ups of Mars, Venus, and Saturn.

Looking at them lets those of us who will never journey through the Milky Way experience its wonder vicariously. Most of all, they’re a reminder of just how much remains to be explored.


Laura C. Mallonee