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Neil Armstrong's Wife Discovers Cloth Bag Containing Artifacts

February 12, 2015 - After Neil Armstrong's death (August 25, 2012), his widow, Carol, discovered a white, (beta) 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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