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Edge of Space: Apollo XI, Orbiter, and Viking I

  • Edge Alley 600 Monroe Ave Memphis United States (map)

Tuesday, June 25 from 5 to 8pm at Edge Alley, 600 Monroe Ave, all are welcome to attend the opening reception for, Edge of Space: Apollo XI, Orbiter, and Viking I.

This exhibition showcases rarely seen vintage gelatin silver photographs from NASA’s most historic space expeditions and achievements. The photos come from the estates of Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger, a former Director of the Marshall Space Flight Center, and other former NASA employees.

“The curated selection of photographs include the first detailed images of the lunar surface, humanity’s first steps on the moon, and the first color photograph of another planet’s surface from Viking I’s 1976 mission to Mars. These photographs are the result of humanity's most daring endeavor,” said show organizer Ryan Adams.

The Apollo program was the largest non-military technological endeavor ever undertaken by the United States. The only other program comparable was the Manhattan Project to build the first atomic bomb.

The Lunar Orbiter Program (1966-7) was a series of unmanned missions to help with the selection of landing sites for the later Apollo missions, they provided the first photographic maps from a lunar orbit.

Buckminster Fuller had previously observed that people perceived the Earth as flat and infinite, and that the root of their misbehavior could be traced back to this restricted perception of our environment. "Man's First Look at the Earth from the Moon" was the first in a series of NASA produced images that would create an important shift in how humankind imagined their place in the universe.

With the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 coming up on July 20, Edge of Space: Apollo 11, Orbiter and Viking I, is a poignant reminder of the monumentality and timeless intrigue of space in relation to humanity’s place in the universe.

Armstrong, reflecting on his journey to the Moon revealed: “the unknowns were rampant”. Set within the backdrop of the Cold War, with intense political tension between the United States and the USSR, the lunar module dubbed “The Eagle” landed Armstrong and Aldrin – with only thirty seconds of fuel remaining – on the Moon on July 20th, 1969. An estimated 550 million people witnessed this undeniably historic event, as Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin explored the Moon’s surface for the very first time. Photographed over two hours while documenting and sampling the Moon, these original photographs remain the most expensive pictures ever taken in terms of their cost of production.

The “magnificent desolation”, as Aldrin described the surface of the Moon, had been photographed via telescope by Lewis Morris Rutherfurd in the 19th century. However, these 1969 photographs of an unprecedented clarity, the result of unfiltered sunlight in situ, epitomize the magnificence of space. The glorious nostalgia of this fortunate era is reflected in these incredible photographs.

What began as a race to put a man on the moon progressed further and further into space, spurred on by limitless ambition and curiosity. These photographs evoke an incomparable time in history when technology was developing at an incredible pace and the impossible became not only possible, but visible for the entire world to see.

This journey’s departure, destination and return extend beyond space and time into the realm of the unknown.

Later Event: February 4
No Words: U.S. Atomic Testing