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November 13, 2023

On Nov 12, 1966, Buzz Aldrin Took the First Space Selfie During the Gemini 12 Mission

He might not have quite managed to be the first man on the moon but astronaut Buzz Aldrin can lay claim to taking the first ever space selfie. Three years before he landed on the moon with Neil Armstrong, he had taken a snap of himself while on a training mission.

During his first stand-up spacewalk, on November 12, 1966, Buzz Aldrin photographed landmarks on Earth. While doing so, he set his camera on the edge of the hatch, pointing it in his direction. He then took what he now describes as “the first space selfie.”

That selfie was taken on November 12, 1966, when Aldrin was in space for the Gemini 12 mission. Aldrin lifted the visor on his helmet before he took the photo, and captured Earth in the background.

The extra-vehicular activity (EVA) equipment used by astronauts during spacewalks contains a specially designed camera for photography in outer space. The main purpose of the EVA camera is to take pictures of the subjects related to the missions.

There have been many space selfies, some of which use the visor of another astronaut’s helmet as the mirror. Early space selfies after the word “selfie” was first used in 2002 without assistance from another astronaut included Donald Pettit and Stephen Robinson. Pettit took one during the Expedition 6 in January 2003. Robinson took his during the repair of the Space Shuttle Discovery on August 3, 2005, as part of the STS-114 mission.

Another notable space selfie was taken by Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide during the six-hour, 28-minute spacewalk on September 5, 2012. Hoshide’s photo became a viral phenomenon after Commander Chris Hadfield uploaded the photo to his Twitter account on September 30, 2013. Coincidentally, Oxford University Press, the publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary, announced in November 2013 that “selfie” was the word of the year for 2013. The picture topped many selfie lists of the year. Another space selfie of Hoshide also showed up on Instagram and appeared on a list of top selfies of 2013.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, Expedition 32 flight engineer, uses a digital still camera to make a photo of his helmet visor during the mission's third session of extravehicular activity (EVA).


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