Space Artifact of the Month
January 4, 2021
Did you know that the Cosmosphere only displays about 7% of its total artifacts from our collection? Every month you're invited behind-the-scenes to learn about unique space artifacts not typically available to the public with our Space Arti-FACT of the Month Mission Log! This exclusive opportunity will take you into the world of the Cosmosphere collection to uncover the rich information, facts and history told through the world’s largest combined collection of U.S. and former Soviet space artifacts.
Groucho Marx Disguise
Thirty-five years ago on January 12, 1986, Kansas Astronaut Dr. Steven Hawley flew on STS-61C…after some clever trickery! The launch was delayed six times, and after careful consideration Dr. Hawley began to think he was the problem. During the seventh attempted launch and while he was stopped in the White Room (a clean room that astronauts enter before boarding the spacecraft that prevent contaminants such as dirt, dust or stray hair from getting inside the craft), Hawley wore this Groucho Marx disguise (and even covered his nameplate in duct tape) so that the shuttle orbiter would not realize he was on board. The disguise worked and the launch was successful!
Flown, Apollo 14
The Apollo 14 astronauts took this microform lunar Bible to the Moon on behalf of the Apollo Prayer League in 1971. Three hundred Bibles were taken, split between the command module and lunar module. The Cosmosphere’s microform Bible is one of the 100 Bibles carried to the Moon in the lunar module by astronaut Edgar Mitchell on the Apollo 14 mission in February 1971.
The Fallen Astronaut with plaque
Replica, not flown
Belgian artist Paul van Hoeydonck created this statuette to commemorate the 14 known astronauts and cosmonauts who had died in the pursuit of space exploration by 1971. As the Apollo 15 crew prepared to leave the Moon, they left the simple plaque and small figurine, representing a fallen astronaut.
The names on the plaque are Charles A. Bassett II, Pavel I. Belyayev, Roger B. Chaffee, Georgi Dobrovolsky, Theodore C. Freeman, Yuri A. Gagarin, Edward G. Givens Jr., Virgil I. Grissom, Vladimir Komarov, Viktor Patsayev, Elliot M. See Jr., Vladislav Volkov, Edward H. White II, and Clifton C. Williams Jr.
Lunar Ejecta and Meteorites (LEAM) Experiment
Engineering model, not flown
December 1972, Apollo 17 astronauts deployed the Lunar Ejecta and Meteorites Experiment to study the speed and motion of particles and debris that strike the Moon. Surprisingly, the experiment found that tiny particles, like those from passing comets, strike the Moon and those particles are mostly lunar dust and debris.
Handmade Russian Chess Set
A handmade Russian chess set celebrating the Russian space program. The chessmen are represented by various spacecraft and satellites, which are listed below. Also note the inlaid Sputnik on the dark squares of the solid wood board.
Pawn: Sputnik I
Rook: Proton rockets
Knight: Vostok spacecraft
Bishop: Soyuz spacecraft
Queen: Salyut space station (with two Soyuz spacecraft)
King: MIR space station (with two Soyuz spacecraft)