In 1969, American astronaut, Neil Armstrong, became the first man to set foot on the moon. His now famous saying, “that’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind” still remains relevant today, as we continue to witness extreme innovations in technology and science. Now, nearly 45 years after the occasion, a treasure trove of “priceless historical value” has been uncovered, reminding the public once again of mankind’s long record of progress.
The “treasure trove”, consisting of items that were supposed to have been left behind after the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, was discovered in Armstrong’s own closet, stored in a white cloth holdall (known as a McDivitt Purse). According to Allan Needell, a space history curator from the National Air and Space Museum, Armstrong’s widow, Carol, unknowingly uncovered the objects while cleaning out his home in Cincinnati.
The bag was left there, undisturbed for decades; in fact, Armstrong made no mention of the items after his return to Earth; only briefly referencing them in passing during his mission – “just a bunch of trash that we want to take back – LM parts, odds and ends, and it won’t stay closed by itself,” according to transcripts.
To Armstrong, the bag was probably a souvenir of sorts. Yet, “…needless to say, for a curator of a collection of space artifacts, it is hard to imagine anything more exciting,” Needell stated.
Among the objects found are netting brackets, a power cable, a mirror, an emergency wrench, two waist tethers (to support his feet during landing) and a 16mm data acquisition camera that was mounted in the Eagle’s window and used to record the historic event.
Although the items are rather ordinary in nature, Needell considers the find of “priceless historical value.”
He adds, “[the discovery] helps us to appreciate that these accomplishments are not just books or movies but involve real people and real things.”
At the moment, a team of experts remains hard at work, cataloging some of the items found inside the closet. However, the camera and waist tethers can now be seen on display at a temporary exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum.