DescriptionApollo 17 Lunar Module Flown LM Water Gun and Filter From the Personal Collection of Mission Commander Gene Cernan. This was used aboard the Lunar Module Challenger during three days on the surface of the moon, allowing astronauts Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt to drink clean water and to prepare their meals. The gun has a Part number of "14-0131", a Serial Number of "3188", was made by Whirlpool, and is 7.5" x 5.5" overall. The separate filter, 5" x 5.75" overall with a Serial Number of "503", has been certified and signed by Cernan: "Flown to the Lunar Surface on Apollo XVII Gene Cernan".
It's amazing to look back and note how NASA's Apollo program pushed the limits of engineering and technology. The availability of potable drinking water aboard a spacecraft evolved considerably from the early days of manned spaceflight. In Project Mercury, water was loaded aboard before launch into a flexible water pouch with a flexible hose attached to a drinking tube. The astronaut had to squeeze the pouch to get water to drink. Fuel cells, first used in the Gemini Program, functioned by combining hydrogen and oxygen through an electrode to create an electrical current. It also produced water as a byproduct, though they could not perfect a method to process the water to make it potable; the Gemini astronauts continued to used a fill and draw system. By the days of the Apollo program, a non-degrading sintered nickel electrode was used instead of an organic one making the water produced by the fuel cells of a very high quality. After this pure water was created as a byproduct of the onboard fuel cells, and stored, the astronauts could access it by means of a state-of-the-art water gun. Connected to the water system by a coiled hose, the gun could dispense a constant flow of water for drinking and food preparation. In addition, in case of an onboard fire, the gun was also designed with a valve that allowed it to be used as a fire extinguisher. Identical water guns could be found in both the command and lunar modules.
This is the water gun and filter that was carried aboard the Apollo 17 Lunar Module Challenger during man's final trip to the moon. Used by astronauts Cernan and Schmitt during their record-breaking three day stay on the lunar surface, the gun was returned to Earth by mission Commander Cernan. These rare and highly collectible artifacts are two of only a few pieces of a flown LM ever returned to Earth. Excellent condition.
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