I found myself going down a rabbit hole of NASA photography today. Gemini XII was part of the Gemini Space Program that ran between 1961–1966. Gemini XII specifically was a crewed mission, commanded by James A. Lovell (who flew on Gemini VII previously). Buzz Aldrin was the co-pilot. Gemini XII was a special mission. It was the concluding mission of Gemini. Objectives included: docking, extra-vehicular activity (EVA), using propulsion systems to change orbit in order to demonstrate automatic reentry.
If you think about it, all three of those objectives are tantamount to every orbital mission. But Gemini XII was only the 18th crewed American spaceflight ever. So, this was considered early days! We were still figuring out the kinks to manned spaceflight.
Now, the Gemini XII was equipped with several cameras. One of which was the Hasselblad Super-Wide Camera 70mm. The other was a Maurer Space Camera 70 mm. Here’s some of the Super Wide photography Buzz and Lovell shot from within the Gemini spacecraft and several photos from outside the craft while conducting EVA.
I’m particularly taken by the refracted sunbeams visible through Earth’s atmosphere. What a beautiful sight.