Before he became one of the first men to walk on the moon, Buzz Aldrin took the first selfie in space. Now, half a century later, Aldrin wants to put his trailblazing self-portrait on your body.
"November is the 50th anniversary of my Gemini 12 mission. New tees in honor of my #FirstSelfieInSpace!" Aldrin announced on Tuesday (Nov. 1), debuting his new t-shirt on Facebook. Sales of the limited edition apparel will benefit Aldrin's non-profit ShareSpace Foundation.
The new shirt features the photo that Aldrin took of himself during his first spacewalk on Nov. 12, 1966. Before taking the shot, Aldrin lifted his helmet visor, so that his face was visible. [Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 Moonwalker, in Photos (Gallery)]
"Now let me raise my visor and I'll smile," said Aldrin, just before he snapped the photo.
Aldrin's selfie also shows the Earth in the background and the boom antenna from the Agena target vehicle that was docked to Aldrin’s and Jim Lovell's Gemini 12 spacecraft. In the photo's foreground is the Maurer 16mm sequence camera used to film the extravehicular activity (EVA). [Gemini Program: Two-Man Prep for Moon Missions]
The shirt, which is being offered in black and gray in three different styles, frames Aldrin's selfie as if it was an instant snapshot, complete with Aldrin's handwriting on the border and the image of a piece of tape at the top, as if the photo is affixed to — rather than printed on — the fabric.
Printed below the photo is "Gemini 12" and "1966," as well as the hashtag (in all caps) "#FirstSelfieInSpace." Aldrin's "moon man" logo and his autograph complete the design.
During the four-day Gemini 12 mission, Aldrin performed a total of three spacewalks, demonstrating astronauts could be productive while working outside their spacecraft. The mission marked the end of NASA's Gemini program, which pioneered the flight skills needed to send astronauts to the moon.
Three years later, Aldrin and Neil Armstrong became the first people to land and walk on the moon during the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission.
While Aldrin's Gemini 12 t-shirt celebrates the past, its sale is focused on the future.
"Proceeds benefit my ShareSpace Foundation 501c3 non-profit educational organization, gifting Giant Mars Map for kids!" wrote Aldrin.
Aldrin's ShareSpace Foundation is dedicated to engaging children in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM). Since its re-launch in 2014, the organization has reached more than 50,000 children through programs such as its "Giant Destination Mars Map," a 25 by 25 foot (8 by 8 meter) vinyl floor map depicting the colorful topography of Mars and the landing sites of NASA's Mars rovers.
To date, the maps have been gifted to schools, museums and science centers in 18 states, as well to sites in Mexico and Nepal.
The maps and their associated educational programs have been funded in part through the sale of shirts like the "First Selfie in Space" limited edition. The foundation's "Get Your Ass to Mars" apparel has been particularly popular, in part thanks to selfies and photos of Aldrin and other celebrities wearing the shirts.
To order Buzz Aldrin's "First Selfie in Space" limited edition t-shirt, see the ShareSpace Foundation's website at sharespace.org.
See Buzz Aldrin’s #FirstSelfieInSpace as photographed on Gemini 12 at collectSPACE.
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Robert Pearlman is a space historian, journalist and the founder and editor of collectSPACE.com, an online publication and community devoted to space history with a particular focus on how and where space exploration intersects with pop culture. Pearlman is also a contributing writer for Space.com and co-author of "Space Stations: The Art, Science, and Reality of Working in Space” published by Smithsonian Books in 2018. He previously developed online content for the National Space Society and Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, helped establish the space tourism company Space Adventures and currently serves on the History Committee of the American Astronautical Society, the advisory committee for The Mars Generation and leadership board of For All Moonkind. In 2009, he was inducted into the U.S. Space Camp Hall of Fame in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2021, he was honored by the American Astronautical Society with the Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History.