“Mars from Distance of 560.000 Miles,” captured by Viking Orbiter II on June 17, 1976 (all images © NASA)

In the early 20th century, the world watched in anticipation as Stetson-capped explorers disappeared into the Amazon jungle. By the 1960s, it was equally intrepid astronauts that commanded attention. Today, while anyone with a strong enough desire can visit the rainforest, very few will still ever enter outer space.

A collection of vintage photographs of NASA’s early missions might offer the next best thing. Currently on view at Daniel Blau in London, the images were taken from manned and unmanned aircrafts like the Apollo, the Viking, and the Voyager. They feature some of US astronautic history’s most iconic moments — Buzz Aldrin stepping on the moon, planting a flag on lunar soil — as well as close-ups of Mars, Venus, and Saturn.

Looking at them lets those of us who will never journey through the Milky Way experience its wonder vicariously. Most of all, they’re a reminder of just how much remains to be explored.

“Buzz Aldrin on the Moon,” captured by NASA Apollo II in July 1969

“Commander Cernan Getting on Board of the Lunar Rover,” captured by NASA Apollo 17 in December 1972

“Snoopy (Apollo 10 Landing Module),” captured on May 23, 1969

“Astronauts Plant Flag on Moon,” captured by NASA Apollo II in July 1969

“Aldrin Leaves the LM,” captured by NASA Apollo II in July 1969

“Moonscape,” captured by NASA Apollo II in 1969

“Moonspace,” captured by NASA Apollo II in 1969

“Charlie Brown Over the Moon,” captured by NASA Apollo 10 in May 1969

“Saturn’s Northern Mid-latitudes,” captured by NASA Voyager 2 on Aug. 21, 1981

“Saturn,” captured by NASA Voyager 2 on Aug. 11, 1981

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Laura C. Mallonee

Laura C. Mallonee is a Brooklyn-based writer. She holds an M.A. in Cultural Reporting and Criticism from NYU and a B.F.A. in painting from Missouri State University. She enjoys exploring new cities and...