Displays seventy-three goodwill messages from world leaders.Apollo 11 Goodwill Silicon Disc with Original Presentation Case and Enlargement. A 1.5" diameter piece of pure silicon, made by the Semi-Conductor Division of Sprague Electric Co. in 1969, with "From Planet Earth" etched at top and "July 1969" at bottom. It is encased inside an eleven-sided (representing Apollo 11) plastic case in jewelry-type box with the following information on the inside lid: "An exact duplicate of the disc containing goodwill messages from around the world left on the surface of the moon by the astronauts of Apollo 11 when man first landed there on 20 July 1969. It can be read with a 70X microscope." This appears to be identical to the example found in the Smithsonian. It is not known how many of these exist, likely only a very few in private hands. Included is a 9.75" x 13" (sight size) photographic enlargement of the messages found on the disc, framed to an overall 16.5" x 20.5". An item rarely offered in any form, especially in this final version with original NASA presentation case and framed enlargement. The case shows some wear as does the frame. The disc appears to have some areas of corrosion on the reverse but the obverse presents excellently.
The creation of this high-tech disc was a project rushed through just weeks before Apollo 11 left on its journey to the moon. NASA Administrator Thomas O. Paine got official permission to contact heads of state all over the world, soliciting messages to be left on the surface of the moon. These were submitted in either written or typed format by the participating countries. Each message was reduced 200 times and inscribed on a piece of silicon. One of these discs was ensconced in an aluminum case and sent on the landmark mission. Interestingly, Aldrin and Armstrong very nearly forgot to leave the disc (and some other items of a memorial nature) on the lunar surface as planned. Only after Armstrong reminded him did Aldrin toss it to the moon as he was about to climb back into the LM Eagle after the EVA. Armstrong moved it slightly with his foot and there it has remained since July 20, 1969. One lucky bidder will be the owner of an identical duplicate.
Included with this lot is a printed photocopy of the original thirty-eight page NASA Press Release dated July 13, 1969. It gives the entire background of this historic disc as well as the text of the various messages found on it. Excerpted as follows: "A small disc carrying statements by Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon and messages of goodwill from leaders of 73 countries around the world will be left on the Moon by the Apollo 11 astronauts. The disc also carries a listing of the leadership of the Congress and a listing of members of the four committees of the House and Senate responsible for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration legislation. Additionally, the names of NASA's top management, including past Administrators and Deputy Administrators, and the present NASA management are included.
"The disc, about the size of a 50-cent piece, is made of silicon-- a non-metallic chemical element found abundantly in nature and used widely in modern electronics. Through a process used to make microminiature electronic circuits, the statements, the messages, and names were etched on the grey-colored disc. Each message was reduced 200 times to a size much smaller than the head of a pin and appears on the disc as a barely visible dot. NASA's Electronics Research Center at Cambridge, Mass., was assisted by the Sprague Electric Company's Semi-Conductor Division, Worcester, Mass., in preparing the historic disc. At the top of the disc is the inscription: "Goodwill messages from around the world brought to the Moon by the astronauts of Apollo 11." Around the rim is the statement: "From Planet ' Earth -- July 1969. The messages from foreign leaders congratulate the United States and its astronauts and also express hope for peace to all nations of the world. Some are handwritten, others typed and many are in native language. A highly decorative message from the Vatican is signed by Pope Paul.
"Silicon, which first came into general use during World War II in the production of diodes, was chosen to bear the miniaturized messages for its ability to withstand the extreme temperatures of the Moon which range from 250 degrees to minus 280 Fahrenheit. Because of its purity and stability, silicon is used extensively today in production of tiny integrated circuits by a process that permits hundreds of devices to be formed at one time within the thin silicon disc. The same process used in making integrated circuits produced the message chip. First, the messages were photographed and the photo reduced 200 times. The resulting image was transferred to glass which was used as a mask through which ultra-violet light was beamed onto a photo-sensitive film on the silicon disc. After a photo-development step, the disc was washed with hydrofluoric acid which accomplished the final etching. The disc itself is fragile and will be transported by the astronauts in an aluminum capsule and will remain in the capsule on the lunar surface. The words on the disc, although not visible to the naked eye, will remain readable through a microscope."
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