I often post strange or fun space history pictures from NASA’s amazing archives on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. The other days I posted this one showing Wernher von Braun strolling casually across the Lunar surface. I didn’t realize until after it was up that the date was April 1st. Many who saw it assumed it was some clever April Fools photoshoppery. It isn’t; it’s a real picture.
What little I found about this picture was surprisingly hard to track down. It seems in the fall of 1969 there was fair held in Atlanta, Georgia, the Southeastern Fair. Coming on the heels of Apollo 11 successful lunar landing, it’s unsurprising that one of the exhibits was a mockup of Tranquility Base, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s landing site. As one of the key players in Apollo’s success – at the time he was the director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and widely known as the chief architect of the Saturn V launch vehicle – he was on hand when the exhibit was opened. This picture, along with a second where he’s seen in the foreground looking at the lunar scene, were transferred by United Press International on September 25, 1969.