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Friday May 16, 2014 MYT 5:55:00 PM
Friday May 16, 2014 MYT 2:37:02 PM
by marice richter
A microfilm Bible that flew around the moon with Apollo 13 and later landing on the moon with Apollo 14, sold at an auction of space memorabilia for US$75,000 (RM242,000).
The 3.8cm by 3.8cm ‘Lunar Bible’, which can be read with a microscope, is one of 12 complete Bibles that remain from a collection of 100 Bibles that made it to the moon’s surface with astronaut Edgar Mitchell in 1971.
“This tiny microform contains the complete Bible, all 1,245 pages of the King James Bible, both Old and New Testaments,” said Michael Riley, senior historian for Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas.
The Lunar Bibles, said to be one of the rarest books because of their provenance, were produced by the Apollo Prayer League, a group started by NASA employees and spread globally with the idea of using man’s first trip to the moon to carry the words of God, the auction house said.
Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell carried 512 of the stamp-sized Bibles on the 1970 mission that was supposed to land on the moon but did not after an oxygen tank explosion in flight severely damaged the spacecraft.
Most of those bibles were cut into pieces and distributed to dignitaries over the years. The twelve that remained were passed from John Stout of the Prayer League to astronaut Mitchell.
One of the bibles is on display through June 22 at the Vatican, where it is a marquee artefact along with three fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, according to a news release from Vatican Radio.
The other stars of the auction were a variety of items from the personal collection of Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean, including the life support strap Bean wore during an eight-hour moonwalk in November 1969. The strap, with traces of moon dust, sold for US$93,750. – Reuters
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