Maybe they thought there would be mailboxes on the moon, and that it would be brown. This postcard is a reminder of what an exciting, unknown frontier it was when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed there 43 years ago.
Though Armstrong left us in August, those first steps are still legendary. So the auctioneers' hopes are high for several pieces of history from the space race due to be sold in Dallas, Texas, on 2 November. There are personal items belonging to Mercury and Apollo astronauts, and this postcard, which went to the moon and back, was signed by all three Apollo 11 crew members and is expected to fetch an astronomical $US40,000 or more.
In addition to the lunar postcard, Heritage is auctioning a few belongings of Gus Grissom, one of the original Mercury astronauts. After becoming the second US citizen in space, Grissom joined the Apollo programme, but died in a fire in the Apollo 1 command module during a pre-launch test.
Grissom's jacket from the US military academy West Point is predicted to net $US20,000. The West Point ring that Grissom's fellow Apollo 1 astronaut, Ed White, was probably wearing when he died on the launch pad is expected to fetch $US20,000 as well.
Other, less gruesome, memorabilia include a page from the Apollo 11 flight plan featuring notes made by Armstrong, an ID plate from the Apollo 12 lunar module, patches from Mercury and Apollo astronaut Wally Schirra's space flights and a US flag flown to the moon on Apollo 14, which was piloted by Alan Shepard -- the first US citizen in space.
Image: Heritage Auctions
New Scientist reports, explores and interprets the results of human endeavour set in the context of society and culture, providing comprehensive coverage of science and technology news.