A New Hampshire auction house has revealed that NASA's first "lunar Bible" is among the hundreds of items from a Space and Aviation Artifacts auction that will be open to the public this month.
The tiny object, an intact microfilm of the King James Bible containing all 1,245 pages and measuring 1.5 x 1.5 inches, will be included in the auction by PR Auction on the company's website (www.rrauction.com) beginning Sept. 15.
The starting bid for the rare artifact was set at $5,000.
The Bible, produced by the Apollo Prayer League, was carried to the surface of the moon by astronaut Edgar Mitchell during the Apollo 14 mission in February 1971.
The Apollo Prayer League consisted of NASA engineers, scientists, administrators, and astronauts and was led by Chaplain John Stout.
Hundreds of copies of the lunar Bible were made, but the one being put on sale by PR Auction was reportedly only one of a dozen other intact versions still in existence.
A certificate written by Mitchell and Stout and included with the lunar Bible reads: "This intact copy is one of only 12 Complete Lunar–Surface Bibles I have ever flight – certified to date! As a complete printed text, it is also among the first 12 astronaut flight–certified books ever carried by mankind to the surface of another world."
According to the 2010 book, The Apostles Of Apollo by C. L. Mersch, NASA officials' desire to land a Bible on the moon was meant to honor the deaths of three Apollo One astronauts who died during a flash fire on the launch pad on Jan. 27, 1967.
One of the astronauts who died, Edward White II, had told a reporter before his death that he hoped one day to carry a Bible to the moon, according to Mersch.
A copy of Mersch's book, autographed by Mitchell, will be included with the King James lunar Bible.
Other items included in the Space and Aviation Artifacts auction are letters from astronauts like Alan Shepard and Neil Armstrong; an Apollo guidance computer display and keyboard unit; and a sample of waste water from the Apollo 11.