In a huge step forward for mankind, NASA has provided over 8,400 never-before-seen photos from the Apollo space program to the Project Apollo Archive. The photos, released on Oct. 2, complete with intimate portraits of NASA astronauts in space, provide a new view on what are perhaps the most memorable space missions ever conducted.
Many images from the 12 Apollo missions, which took place between 1968 and 1972 and resulted in man's first landing on the moon, were tucked away in NASA's archive because the space agency didn't have the funds to publish them, according to the BBC's Newsbeat. Project Apollo Archive's founder, Lynchburg College professor Kipp Teague, took it upon himself to get them out to the public.
Teague originally launched the photo depository in 1999 but wanted to republish them in higher resolutions, he told Newsbeat on Monday. "Many times over the years I've been asked if I can make them available in a more user-friendly way," he said in the interview. "I felt it was time to get the full-resolution, unprocessed versions out there."
The collection, published on Flickr, features 112 pages of both black-and-white and color high-resolution photos that include behind-the-scenes images of the astronauts and stunning views from space.
The gallery includes photos from all Apollo missions, including the Apollo 11 mission of 1969, during which astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," Armstrong famously said while taking his first steps on the lunar surface. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin followed a few moments later.
The collection also includes views of the moon's crescent from the doomed Apollo 13 mission that was supposed to make a moon landing in 1970 but malfunctioned during its ascent. The crew returned to Earth in what eventually became the 1995 blockbuster movie Apollo 13.
Although it's difficult to pick a favorite, Teague told Newsbeat he was "struck by one image I had never seen before, which was of the dark surface of the moon with the earth setting in the distance behind it." The image was taken in December 1972.