The Personal Preference Kit carried Aldrin’s personal effects, including items that he used for a lunar communion, according to auction house R.R. Auction. The cloth bag has a pre-sale estimate of $250,000.
“Prior to Apollo 11’s launch in July, 1969, the pastor of Webster Presbyterian Church in Houston, Dean Woodruff, and I struggled to find a meaningful symbol for the first lunar landing. I wondered if it might be possible to take communion on the moon, symbolizing the thought that God was revealing Himself there, too, as man reached out in the universe. We would carry the bread and wine in plastic packets, just as regular inflight food was wrapped, and there would be just enough gravity on the moon for the wine to pour. Dean was quite enthusiastic, locating a graceful silver chalice which was light enough to take along,” Aldrin explains, in a signed letter accompanying the sale.
Shortly after landing on the moon on July 20, 1969, Aldrin unpacked the chalice and other communion items from the PPK and requested a few moments of silence. “In the radio blackout, I poured the wine into the chalice and observed how, in the one-sixth lunar gravity, the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the cup's side," Aldrin explained in the letter. "Consider that the first liquid ever poured on another world, and the first food eaten there were communion elements!"
Other items in the auction include a signed replica of the chalice used by Aldrin, which has a pre-sale estimate of $7,500. The auction runs from Thursday until April 16.
After Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Aldrin set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969, only 10 more men, all Americans, walked on the lunar surface. The last NASA astronaut to set foot on the moon was Apollo 17 Mission Cmdr. Gene Cernan on Dec. 14, 1972.
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