Rare ‘Lunar Bible’ That Visited the Moon Is Up for Auction | Future Tech
The auction lot includes a mounted copy of the microform Bible and two certificates of authenticity.
Credit: Courtesy of Nate D. Sanders Auctions
How much would you pay for a Bible that flew to the moon?
A rare, miniature Bible that traveled on board NASA's Apollo 14 mission in 1971 is up for auction, with bidding — currently underway — starting at $50,000.
Along with the microform King James Bible, which is mounted and framed in a gold-and-enamel setting, the auction lot includes two certificates of authenticity. One document was signed by Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell, verifying that the Bible made a lunar landing; the other was signed by the Rev. John M. Stout, a NASA information scientist and the director of the Apollo Prayer League (APL), which organized the moon visits of this and other lunar Bibles. [Photos: Hidden Text Discovered in England's Oldest Bible]
The tiny Bible didn't take up much room while on board the spacecraft — all 1,245 pages were condensed and printed on a single microfilm square that measures about 1.6 square inches (4.1 square centimeters), according to the item description posted online by Nate D. Sanders Auctions (NSA), which is conducting the auction.
Apollo 14, which landed on the moon on Feb. 5, 1971, was the first mission to successfully transport a Bible to the lunar surface, following two failed attempts during Apollo 12 and Apollo 13, according to the APL website. The lunar Bible initiative was launched by the APL, an organization founded in 1968 by pastors working within NASA “to pray for the safety of the astronauts and the skill of NASA employees who built the rockets they would fly,” according to the APL mission statement.
“And — most importantly — to land a Bible on the moon,” the statement concluded.
APL's efforts commemorate Apollo 1 astronaut Edward White, who wanted to bring a Bible to the moon but never made it there. White died when a fire ignited during a launch rehearsal on Jan. 27, 1967; the blaze also claimed the lives of two other astronauts, Virgil “Gus” Grissom and Roger Chaffee, NASA wrote in a mission summary.
Hundreds of these so-called lunar Bibles — 512, to be exact — were bundled in packets and carried by Apollo 14 to the moon. The lunar module held 100 copies, 200 copies were officially stowed in the command module and an additional 212 copies were secretly hidden aboard by NASA microbiologist and APL board member Harold Hill prior to launch, according to APL.
Of those, 100 Bibles reached the moon's surface with Mitchell. Only 11 copies of the Apollo 14 lunar Bibles bear official letters of authenticity signed by both Mitchell and Stout, and seven copies remain in circulation, NSA representatives wrote in the catalog.
After the Apollo 14 mission returned to Earth, Mitchell presented the lunar Bibles to Stout, Space.com previously reported. Stout kept some of the Bibles and distributed copies among APL members; decades later, a six-year legal battle concerning several of those Bibles was launched after a state agency questioned a private owner's claim to the artifacts, according to Space.com. (The suit was eventually dropped in May 2017.)
Bids for this Bible can be submitted online, and the auction concludes on July 26 at 2 p.m. EDT.
Original article on Live Science.
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