Gene Cernan's own Personal Preference Kit. What each astronaut carried in these bags are items of great legend and speculation!Apollo 17 Flown Beta Cloth Lunar Module Astronaut Preference Kit belonging to Apollo 17 Commander Gene Cernan. An off-white bag of approximately 4" x 8" x 1.5" with a drawstring top and original red wax seal. The bag has been cut open around the back near the top. On the front is a sewn-on tag with the following text: "Bag, APK/ Sec 12100087-301/ S/N 1007/ ASTRONAUT KIT". Cernan has handwritten his authentication also on the front, "Flown Lunar Surface Gene Cernan" and "A-17/ To Lunar Surface EAC". It was carried to the moon in December, 1972 aboard the Command Module America, and then transferred to the Lunar Module Challenger, for the descent to the lunar surface. The bag remained on the moon inside the LM for more than three days- the longest stay of any lunar mission. After re-docking with the command module in lunar orbit, the PPK was transferred back into America for the return trip to Earth. In total, this PPK spent more than twelve and a half days in space, and a record of more than six days in lunar orbit or on the surface.
There were command module PPKs that permitted up to five pounds of personal items and there were lunar module PPKs that permitted approximately one pound of personal items to be taken to the lunar surface. Although only two of the three crew members went to the lunar surface, a few missions permitted the command module pilot to also have a lunar module PPK with a limit of approximately one-half pound of personal items. When this was not the case, the command module pilot had to ask the other two astronauts going to the surface if they would take a few items for him, usually for his wife or family. To quote the 1972 NASA Management Instruction regarding articles authorized to be carried on manned spaceflight missions, "Each flight astronaut shall be permitted to carry certain items of a personal nature in his APK on each manned space flight mission for use by him as personal gifts for his immediate family and relatives (wives, children, parents, in-laws, brothers and sisters) or close friends. No more than one article may be given to one individual."
When one looks at this incredibly small Beta cloth bag, you get a better sense of how few items actually made the trip to the surface of the moon. From the personal collection of Captain Gene Cernan accompanied by written authentication by Cernan.
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