Buzz Aldrin posted what he calls "the world's first space selfie," taken in 1966
It was captured while he was shooting pics of ultraviolet stars while on the Gemini 12 mission
"I didn't realize I was pioneering the selfies," Aldrin told CNN
Today it's a fairly popular past-time for astronauts to send selfies home from space
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“Gee whiz! Look at that horizon. It’s curved a little bit and the clouds are way down there. I wonder what the picture’s going to look like?” recalls famed astronaut Buzz Aldrin.
He’s perhaps best known for becoming the second person to walk on the moon, as part of the 1969 Apollo moon landing, but Aldrin unknowingly made history when in 1966, he snapped the “first space selfie.” Taken while on the 10th and final Gemini mission – Gemini 12 – Aldrin revealed the story behind the selfie to CNN.
“I didn’t realize I was pioneering the selfies,” he says with his usual wide-eyed enthusiasm.
“We were docked to the other spacecraft, Agena. There was an experimenter from Northwestern University and he wanted pictures taken of ultraviolet stars. So we could only take pictures at night.”
He adds: “During the day pass, I’m looking down at the Astrodome, some of the lakes around Houston, so what am I going to do during the daytime? Look at the camera and hit the button.”
And that was that. Aldrin had just snapped what he claims is the “first selfie in space.”
Today it’s the norm and NASA has gotten incredibly good at sharing the best shots with the world on social media.
But it’s not just astronauts. Scientists and engineers are getting in on the action, too, by having the robots and orbiters out and about the galaxy take happy snaps of their alien surroundings. Scroll through the gallery above to see more.
Meanwhile, almost 50 years on, Aldrin reflects on his other “first” and concedes he took the pioneering pic out of boredom.
“What for? I don’t know. I wondered what I looked like. Another claim to fame for Buzz,” he says leaning forward with a cheeky grin on his face.