slideshow 1 slideshow 2 slideshow 3 slideshow 4 slideshow 5 slideshow 6

You are here

PSI’s Jim Rice Recalls Finding Astronaut’s Face In Iconic Apollo 11 Photo 10 Years Ago

Buzz Aldrin on the moon 

PSI Senior Scientist Jim Rice discovered that this iconic image from the Apollo 11 mission shows Buzz Aldrin’s face is visible through his helmet visor. Rice sent his annotated images to Aldrin’s assistant on July 1, 2009.


News sources and social media have been buzzing with the story of an amateur photographer who found the image of NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s face in an iconic photo of the astronaut looking at the U.S. flag on the Moon’s surface. Planetary Science Institute Senior Scientist Jim Rice remembers finding this 10 years earlier. 

“While pouring over the Apollo 11 images back in 2009, I noticed that I could see Buzz Aldrin’s face through his Lunar Extravehicular Visor Assembly (LEVA). I created this product to commemorate the upcoming 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 and sent it to Buzz Aldrin’s assistant, Christina Rasch.” Rice said. 

“The Apollo lunar missions ignited my intense interest in space exploration and heavily influenced my career path. So I often take the time to go back and analyze images from the Apollo missions,” Rice said. “Project Apollo is why I became an astrogeologist and thus far in my career I’ve had the distinct honor and privilege of working on five NASA Mars and Moon mission as well as working on astronaut geology training for our return to the Moon.”

Space journalist Leonard David ( recalls, “Jim Rice is always on the lookout for interpretative imagery. In the case of scouring imagery from Apollo 11, he contacted me long ago about what he saw in a photo of Buzz Aldrin during his Apollo 11 moonwalking stint, a bit of face-recognition in a photo taken way back in 1969. This type of research is always invaluable to further document the incredible adventure that was Apollo 11.” 

Rice said, “I would like to encourage everyone to continue to explore not only the Apollo images but images from other missions as well, there is much more to discover!”

Oct. 6, 2019
Page maintained by
fischer [at] (A. Fischer)

PSI, a Nonprofit Corporation 501(c)(3), and an Equal Opportunity/M/F/Vet/Disabled/Affirmative Action Employer.
Corporate Headquarters: 1700 East Fort Lowell, Suite 106 * Tucson, AZ 85719-2395 * 520-622-6300 * FAX: 520-622-8060
Copyright © 2020 . All Rights Reserved.