A Secret Stash of Moon Artefacts Has Been Found in Neil Armstrong's Wardrobe

By Jesus Diaz on at

These are the contents of a mysterious white bag found hidden in Neil Armstrong's wardrobe: 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.

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 wardrobe, containing what were obviously either flight or space related artefacts. 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 realised 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 artefacts. 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 artefacts 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.

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

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

1. The McDivitt Purse

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

The McDivitt Purse, named that way in honour 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.

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

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

3 & 4. Utility lights

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

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

5 & 6. Utility clamps

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

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

7. Crewman Optical Alignment Sight (COAS)

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

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

8. Filter (Snap-on for COAS)

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

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

Filter mounted on the COAS

9. Light Bulb Assembly (Spare for COAS)

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

10. Waist Tether (Extra-Vehicular Activity tether)

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

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

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

11. Helmet Tie Down Strap (x2)

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

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

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

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)

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

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

Camera mounted attached to power cable

12b. 10-mm lens (for DAC)

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

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

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

14. Eyeguard Assembly (for AOT)

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

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

15. Mirror (it's actually polished metal)

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

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

16. Tool B - Emergency Wrench

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

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

17. Waste Management Cover

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

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

18. Netting

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


This article originally appeared on Sploid, a Gizmodo blog of delicious brain candy