Man made his first landing on the moon’s surface on 20 July, 1969 – with Apollo 11’s successful mission mainly guided by Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin. But there was more to the endeavor even after 42 years of the momentous achievement. Just after Neil Armstrong’s death (on 25 August 2012), his widow, Carol, discovered a white bag kept inconspicuously inside a closet. And that bag contained the treasured artifacts from one of mankind’s glorious highlights – the nigh venerable equipment and objects used in the Lunar Module Eagle during the epic scope of NASA’s Apollo 11 manned moon landing program.
After this chance discovery, the contents along with the bag were pertinently sent to the experts at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. The curator of this establishment, Allan Needell, did in fact recognize the bag as a McDivitt Purse or a Temporary Stowage Bag (colloquially known as the ‘Purse’) that had many parts and gears from the Lunar Module Eagle. On further consultation with other researchers and authors, the contents were finally confirmed to be among the actual (and very rare) gizmos that had seen action above and upon the surface of the moon.
Among this incredible find is the famed 16mm camera with its 10mm lens. It was attached to the front section of the lunar module as the craft was making its momentous descent on the moon’s surface. In essence, the camera was used for capturing this manned moon landing moment as well as other fascinating exploits from humankind’s space-history, including the two astronauts’ activities on the moon – like collecting the soil samples and even planting the US flag.
As of now, the McDivitt Purse and its contents are given as loan to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum for further researching. And the good news is – they are planned to be eventually displayed for the public.
1) McDivitt Purse –
2) Utility Lights with Power Cables –
3) Crewman Optical Alignment Sight –
4) Waist Tether –
5) DAC Power Cable –
6) Data Acquisition Camera –
Image Credits: Carol Armstrong / ALSJ