On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon, ushering in a new era on space exploration. We are often subjected to the standard shots taken by Buzz Aldrin of the gray, rocky surface, with some faceless spacemen standing still and posing. That's why this picture, which is rarely seen, is such an immaculate piece of history.
The form of pure joy, accomplishment, and disbelief is a testament to what mankind can achieve. Aldrin snapped this shot of a teary-eyed Armstrong, moments after returning to the spacecraft and removing his helmet.
His ecstasy is evident; This is a man's face so astonishing that he can only smile and cry. Armstrong would later describe his emotional state as "happy, ecstatic and extremely surprised that we succeeded"—and we see it right here.
"It suddenly dawned on me that, that little pea, beautiful and blue, was the earth. I put my thumb up and closed one eye, and my thumb wiped out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I didn't feel like a giant. Felt very, very small".
2:56 UTC On July 21, 1969, Armstrong set the first human foot on another world. With more than half a billion people watching on television, he climbed down the ladder and declared: "It's one small step for one man, one big leap for mankind".