Tags: Neil Armstrong | moon | souvenirs | Smithsonian

Neil Armstrong's Souvenirs From Moon Mission at Smithsonian

By    |   Monday, 09 February 2015 03:43 PM

For over 40 years, the first man to walk on the moon, astronaut Neil Armstrong, kept a secret stash of souvenirs of his historic mission.

After Armstrong died at 82 in 2012, his wife, Carol, found the 10-pound bag of historic parts from the Apollo 11 moon mission which landed on Tranquility Base on July 20, 1969, hidden in a closet at their home. She contacted the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, which now has the historic items, the Daily Mail reported.

Called the "McDivitt Purse," after astronaut Jim McDivitt, who suggested including it on the spacecraft, the white cloth bag held a collection of salvaged mechanical items and was moved from the Eagle landing vehicle to the Columbia command module before the Eagle was allowed to crash back to the surface, NBC News reports.

The bag contained a power cable and utility light, a pair of utility clamps, a crewman optical alignment sight device, a filter, a light bulb assembly, Armstrong's waist tether, helmet straps, a camera bracket, 10 mm lens, shade and eye guard, a mirror, a utility wrench, a waste management cover, a section of netting and, perhaps most historically significant, the 16mm camera which recorded Armstrong's first steps onto the moon's surface and the planting of the flag, the Daily Mail reported.

A similar camera from Apollo 15 brought $760,000 at auction last year and was thought to be the only camera to have been brought back from a moon mission.

Allan Needell, Apollo curator at the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) in Washington, said, "Needless to say, for a curator of a collection of space artifacts, it is hard to imagine anything more exciting," NBC reported.

"Experts were able to determine with almost complete certainty that all of the items were indeed from the Eagle and that, although they were formally scheduled to be left behind, they were assembled in the temporary stowage bag and saved from the fate that awaited Eagle’s ascent stage and all of its contents — crashing into the lunar surface," Needell wrote on the NSAM blog.

Armstrong didn't filch the items. He mentioned the bag to module pilot Michael Collins as it was being transferred, calling it "just a bunch of trash that we want to take back — LM [Landing Module] parts, odds and ends," and the bag was weighed for the return trip. It's not known how it remained in Armstrong's possession after he landed back on earth.

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For over 40 years, the first man to walk on the moon, astronaut Neil Armstrong, kept a secret stash of souvenirs of his historic mission.
Neil Armstrong, moon, souvenirs, Smithsonian
Monday, 09 February 2015 03:43 PM
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