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New Apollo 11 Book Shows Incredible, Forgotten Photos of the Apollo Program

This summer, it will be 50 years since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the moon's surface and sent back iconic photographs of the bootprints they left behind. 

But there are plenty of other photographs from the mission that never saw that kind of fame. "Picturing Apollo 11: Rare Views and Undiscovered Moments" (University Press of Florida, April 2019), a new book by spaceflight historian J.L. Pickering and journalist John Bisney, shows some of the lesser-seen moments of the Apollo program.

"Although we set the stage for the mission with background information on Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Mike Collins, our primary focus is January through August 1969," Bisney wrote in the book's introduction. "We take the reader through crew training, including geology field trips and lunar surface simulations." 

This book goes beyond the Apollo 11 photos that typically circulate in the media — the Saturn V rocket launching, Armstrong and Aldrin's first steps on the moon, and so on. Instead, it highlights moments throughout the road to Apollo 11. The photographs include the arrival, processing and assembly of the Saturn V rocket and the Apollo 11 lunar module and command service module; the missions that led to Apollo 11; the rigorous training that Collins, Aldrin and Armstrong went through; and more. 

What this book accomplishes is something unique among the large selection of available books that center on NASA's Apollo 11 mission. Containing an incredible collection of photographs, this book really humanizes the Apollo 11 astronauts, who are still seen and remembered as larger-than-life figures. These images go far beyond Armstrong and Aldrin's lunar landing to show the tense, thrilling and even mundane moments along the way in the Apollo program. 

Stretching back months before the Apollo 11 Saturn V rocket launched, the photographs show the moments in the program that might have otherwise been forgotten: stressful moments during training, goofy moments between the astronauts and technical milestones for the entire NASA staff. This book would be a great choice for those who want to see what it was really like to be a part of the teams atNASA in 1969. 

Buy Picturing Apollo 11 on Amazon.com (opens in new tab)

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Chelsea Gohd
Senior Writer

Chelsea “Foxanne” Gohd joined Space.com in 2018 and is now a Senior Writer, writing about everything from climate change to planetary science and human spaceflight in both articles and on-camera in videos. With a degree in Public Health and biological sciences, Chelsea has written and worked for institutions including the American Museum of Natural History, Scientific American, Discover Magazine Blog, Astronomy Magazine and Live Science. When not writing, editing or filming something space-y, Chelsea "Foxanne" Gohd is writing music and performing as Foxanne, even launching a song to space in 2021 with Inspiration4. You can follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd and @foxannemusic.