You’ve marveled at the epically historic photos of Neil Armstrong’s 1969 trek on the moon. Have you ever wondered about the camera that captured them?
Until recently, this camera wasn’t at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. Actually, it wasn’t on display anywhere. The camera sat in a bag with other space-traveling treasures in the late Armstrong’s closet.
Armstrong grabbed the bag (or, as he reported to mission control, “just a bunch of trash”) as he loaded the Apollo 11 command capsule on his return journey with Buzz Aldrin. That’s right – the Distinguished Eagle Scout even practiced Scouting’s Leave No Trace principles on the Moon. What’s more, his humility in saving these mementos in his home reminds us Armstrong was not only an extraordinary explorer but also an ordinary guy.
Armstrong’s wife found the bag of moon memorabilia, including tools, netting, brackets, a power cable, and the famous camera. The bag also contained a tether Armstrong used to demonstrate a Scout is always prepared as he fashioned a makeshift footrest while his capsule rested on the moon.
The Eagle Scout has Landed
Distinguished Eagle Scout Neil Armstrong and Tenderfoot Scout Buzz Aldrin were the first men on the moon and fortify an extensive list of Scouts who have explored space. NASA notes two-thirds of current and past astronauts have been involved in Scouting.
Armstrong took the World Scout Badge with him on the moon, igniting the spirit of exploration in Scouts for generations to come. And the photos taken by the camera long stashed in his closet can be credited for instilling wonderment in the whole world.
National Air and Space Museum curator Allen Needell told CBS, “This camera took some of the most significant images of the 20th century I would think.”
Learn much more about the items in Armstrong’s trove on the National Air and Space Museum blog and then check your closet for major historical artifacts.