This incredibly rare and desirable photograph of Earthrise was shot by Michael Collins looking west from the CSM Columbia and shows in the same frame the ascent stage of the LM Eagle coming back from the lunar surface with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on board.
Apollo 11 was the only mission to bring back photographs of the Earth together with the LM over the Moon. This photograph was not published after the mission and captured with the Hasselblad 500EL equipped with the 80mm lens. Smyth’s Sea is visible near the lunar horizon.
Moments after this photograph was taken, Eagle re-docked with Columbia in lunar orbit and Aldrin and Armstrong transferred in Columbia with the precious lunar rocks and Hasselblad film magazines for the journey back to Earth. Eagle was then jettisoned and crashed to the lunar surface.
“This picture captures the essence of the Apollo project, two celestial bodies connected by a human transportation system composed of two very different vehicles. Taken through the window of the Command Module which has the ability to return through the Earth’s atmosphere at very high speeds, this photograph features the ascent stage of the Lunar Module, the only craft to be able to convey crewmen from lunar orbit to the surface of the Moon and return them to orbit around the Moon. As the LM was unable to return through the Earth’s atmosphere, it was required to rendezvous and dock with the Command Module, where the crew could transfer for the return to their Home Planet.”
— Neil Armstrong (Jacobs, pg. 65)
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© All texts by Victor Martin-Malburet