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The Only Camera NASA Ever Brought Back from the Moon Will Soon be Auctioned Off

Update: According to collectSPACE, this might not have been the only camera brought back from the moon. Check out the update at the bottom for details.

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A total of fourteen Hasselblad cameras made it to the moon on the Apollo missions; but of those 14, only one ever made it back. And now, that one camera is going to go home with a lucky (and rich) collector pending an auction at WestLicht in Vienna on March 21st.

As far as photography auctions go, it doesn’t get much more exciting than this. Whoever wins this camera will take home a piece of machinery used on the Apollo 15 mission by astronaut Jim Irwin to take 299 pictures of the moon’s surface and 96 on the way there and back. You might not ever get to go to the moon, but at least your camera did!

The auction will start at just over $108,000, and is expected to fetch between $200,000 and $270,000 before it’s all over. Given how rare it is, however, we wouldn’t be at all surprised if it went for quite a bit more money than that.

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Here’s a snippet from WestLicht’s description of the item, explaining the significance of this amazing camera:

Jim Irwin took exactly 299 pictures with this Hasselblad 500 ‘EL DATA CAMERA HEDC’ during his 3 days stay on the lunar surface and 96 more on the way to the moon and back again. The mission was the first not to land in a lunar mare, instead landing near Hadley rille, documenting an area of the Mare Imbrium called Palus Putredinus. The crew explored the area using the first lunar rover, which allowed them to travel much further from the Lunar Module. Often quoted, NASA called Apollo 15 the most successful manned flight ever achieved.

The other 13 cameras that made it to the moon were left there due to weight concerns. To learn more about this incredible camera, head over to the WestLicht website by clicking here.

(via The Verge)


Update: The good people at collectSPACE are supposedly calling WestLicht auction house’s bluff where this rare camera is concerned. They allege that this is NOT the only camera to be brought back from the surface of the Moon. Here’s what they had to say about it (read the full post here):

Was Irwin’s camera the only Hasseblad EDC to return from the moon, as claimed by WestLicht? No, it was not. At least one other, the camera used on the moon by Apollo 14 commander Alan Shepard, also came back to Earth.

“They’d like for you to return your camera, so you don’t have to bother removing the magazine from it,” Mission Control radioed to Shepard just before he hit a golf ball off the moon’s surface on Feb. 6, 1971. “You can just put the whole camera in the ETB [Equipment Transfer Bag].”

Similarly, the space-to-ground transcripts suggest Eugene Cernan, Apollo 17 commander and the last man to walk on the moon, also returned his Hasselblad at the instructions of Mission Control, though where the camera is now is not clear.