WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A treasure trove of objects that were supposed to have been left behind after the first moon landing have turned up in the closet of Neil Armstrong, the first man to step onto the lunar surface, the Smithsonian Institution has said.
Armstrong died in August 2012 and his wife, Carol, found the items from the 1969 lunar landing as she was cleaning out one of his home closets in Cincinnati, Allan Needell, a space history curator at the National Air and Space Museum, wrote in a recent blog.
Among the objects are a camera that was mounted in the window of the Eagle lunar module to record the landing and two waist tethers. Armstrong used one of the tethers to support his feet during his rest period on the moon, Needell said.
The items were stashed in a white stowage bag informally known as a McDivitt Purse used aboard Eagle to store items.
“Needless to say, for a curator of a collection of space artifacts, it is hard to imagine anything more exciting,” Needell wrote.
The items were intended to be left behind on the moon but were instead brought back. Needell said that as far as he knew Armstrong had never discussed them and no one had seen them in the 45 years since he returned to Earth.
According to mission transcripts, Armstrong described the objects to astronaut Michael Collins, who stayed in orbit around the moon aboard the command ship, as “just a bunch of trash that we want to take back - LM parts, odds and ends, and it won’t stay closed by itself.”
The camera and the tether that Armstrong used during his rest break are part of a temporary exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum.
Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Bill Trott