This Is Not Your Ordinary Family Photo

This is the Duke family. The father, Charles Moss Duke Jr born October 3, 1935. The mum, Dorothy Meade Claiborne. The two sons, Charles and Thomas. They are probably in their garden, sitting on a bench. They look so happy.

And they should be, because Charles Moss Duke was the lunar module pilot of Apollo 16 in 1972. He landed with mission commander John W. Young at the Descartes Highlands, which is what makes this photo so special: It's still there, untouched, unperturbed, exactly in the same position as he left it before taking a snapshot of it with his Hasselblad 70mm film camera.

I didn't know about this fantastic photo until a couple of days ago, ignorant that I am. Following the advice of my friend Adán—who is a space exploration fanboy like I am—I bought an amazing book called Full Moon. It shows the trip to the moon through 128 brunch-bacon-crispy photographs, many of them giant four-page spreads containing fascinating panoramas. All clean, pitch black background, no text. Like the silence of space.

Full Moon is not a new book: It was curated and published in 1999 by Michael Light. It contains the first and only digital scans of the Apollo missions' original camera film. See, when these images returned from space, NASA copied them then stored the original film right away for future scanning. The vaults were opened for Light, who went through all of them, selected what he thought was the best, scanned them using the best digital equipment available, created the panoramas when needed, and printed this book. The quality is so perfect, and the selection so good, that I can't recommend it highly enough.

So there I was, sitting in amazement, slowly flipping through the amazing views, and I found this. It instantly caught my attention. The idea of leaving such a happy photo in the surface of such a inhospitable place filled me with a mix of happiness, sadness and much nostalgia. I instantly remembered another image like that. Surely this must have been inspired by Duke's original shot:

You can buy Full Moon here. Actually, you must.

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