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Secret stash of Moon artifacts found hidden in Neil Armstrong's closet

Illustration for article titled Secret stash of Moon artifacts found hidden in Neil Armstrongs closet

These are the contents of a mysterious white bag found hidden in Neil Armstrong's closet: Weird looking lamps, wrenches, utility brackets, sights, and a film camera that later was identified as the one that captured the famous Apollo 11's descent on the Moon's surface. Nobody knew about it, including his widow.

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According to NASA, Carol Armstrong sent photos to Allan Needell, curator of the Apollo collection at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, who immediately knew what was inside: It was a McDivitt Purse full of parts from the Eagle, Apollo 11's Lunar Module:

After Neil Armstrong's death, his widow, Carol, discovered a white cloth bag in a closet, containing what were obviously either flight or space related artifacts. She contacted Allan Needell, curator of the Apollo collection at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, and provided photographs of the items. Needell, who immediately realized that the bag—known to the astronauts as the Purse - and its contents could be hardware from the Apollo 11 mission, asked the authors for support in identifying and documenting the flight history and purpose of these artifacts. After some research it became apparent that the purse and its contents were lunar surface equipment carried in the Lunar Module Eagle during the epic journey of Apollo 11.

These artifacts are among the very few Apollo 11 flown items brought back from Tranquility Base and, thus, are of priceless historical value. Of utmost importance is the 16mm movie camera with its 10mm lens. The camera was mounted behind the right forward window of the lunar module and was used to film the final phase of the descent to the lunar surface, the landing, as well as Neil Armstrong's and Buzz Aldrin's activities on the lunar surface including taking the first samples of lunar soil and planting the US flag. Thanks to the Neil Armstrong family, the Apollo 11 purse and its contents are now on loan at the National Air and Space Museum for preservation, research and eventual public display.

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Here's a list of everything inside and how it looked inside and outside the Eagle:

Illustration for article titled Secret stash of Moon artifacts found hidden in Neil Armstrongs closet

1. The McDivitt Purse

Illustration for article titled Secret stash of Moon artifacts found hidden in Neil Armstrongs closet

The McDivitt Purse, named that way in honor of Apollo 9 Commander Jim McDivitt, who wanted a stowage bag that could be positioned at the front of the spacecraft to hold items, such as the purge valves, which might otherwise fall to the cabin floor while they were preparing for EVAs.

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2. Power Cable for Data Acquisition Camera (item 12)

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3 & 4. Utility lights

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Illustration for article titled Secret stash of Moon artifacts found hidden in Neil Armstrongs closet

5 & 6. Utility clamps

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Illustration for article titled Secret stash of Moon artifacts found hidden in Neil Armstrongs closet

7. Crewman Optical Alignment Sight (COAS)

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Illustration for article titled Secret stash of Moon artifacts found hidden in Neil Armstrongs closet

8. Filter (Snap-on for COAS)

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Illustration for article titled Secret stash of Moon artifacts found hidden in Neil Armstrongs closet

Filter mounted on the COAS

9. Light Bulb Assembly (Spare for COAS)

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10. Waist Tether (Extra-Vehicular Activity tether)

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Illustration for article titled Secret stash of Moon artifacts found hidden in Neil Armstrongs closet
Illustration for article titled Secret stash of Moon artifacts found hidden in Neil Armstrongs closet
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11. Helmet Tie Down Strap (x2)

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12. Data Acquisition Camera (DAC -16mm movie)

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This is the camera that captured the descent (this video gets me every single time I watch it):

12a. Right-Angle Bracket Adapter (for DAC)

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Illustration for article titled Secret stash of Moon artifacts found hidden in Neil Armstrongs closet

Camera mounted attached to power cable

12b. 10-mm lens (for DAC)

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13. Lens Shade (Teflon; for 10mm lens on DAC)

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14. Eyeguard Assembly (for AOT)

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Illustration for article titled Secret stash of Moon artifacts found hidden in Neil Armstrongs closet

The Alignment Optical Telescope was used for navigation while flying the Lunar Module, "a periscope-type device that protruded through the top of the LM. The astronauts used AOT to make direct visual sightings and record precise angular measurements of pairs of celestial objects."

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15. Mirror (it's actually polished metal)

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Illustration for article titled Secret stash of Moon artifacts found hidden in Neil Armstrongs closet

16. Tool B - Emergency Wrench

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Illustration for article titled Secret stash of Moon artifacts found hidden in Neil Armstrongs closet

17. Waste Management Cover

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Illustration for article titled Secret stash of Moon artifacts found hidden in Neil Armstrongs closet

18. Netting

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Illustration for article titled Secret stash of Moon artifacts found hidden in Neil Armstrongs closet

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DISCUSSION

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300hp30mpgrwdfor30k

He's Neil Fucking Armstrong, first man to walk on the moon. If he wants these things, they're his. Good chance they'd just have been left on the moon anyway. I'm sure "on loan" means they'll be at the National Air and Space Museum forever. Either way, he got to cherish them as his own private mementos for the awesome thing he did and shared with the world, so good on him.