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Surprising Objects That Have Been to Space

If you were traveling to outer space, what would you take with you? Photographer Steve Pyke got to find out what items some American astronauts felt were significant enough for that. Starting in 1998, Pyke began a series of portraits of those who had traveled to space or walked on the Moon in the late 1960s and early 1970s. But he also photographed objects that had made the journeys with them. There were the wonderfully geeky working items: a case used to bring the first lunar rock back to Earth on Apollo 11 in 1969 and the geological hammer used during Apollo 12.

But then there were more personal and sometimes surprising artifacts that orbited the Earth and even made the journey to the Moon. A figurine of a Madonna, an unopened bottle of brandy, a golf club, and quotes from famous people, and a copy of the Declaration of Independence. Astronaut Rusty Schweickart brought those quotes on pieces of lightweight onionskin paper tucked inside his tunic during Apollo 9. Pyke writes, “To him, they were pieces of wisdom from Earth that would remain up there, on his person, even if he was lost during the mission.”

Each lunar astronaut was allowed only two pounds of personal items that they could bring back, so the items they chose can be curious, odd, and personal. “The objects that are documented here—the quiet and intimate minutiae—give us access to the very personal, psychological, and human side to the journey into space. What is it that these astronauts and pioneers wanted to take with them on their ultimate journey into the unknown?”

Possible Preaching Angle:

What are you taking on your ultimate journey to heaven? Many things that we spend our life pursuing, such as material possessions, money, fame, hobbies, and status, will be left behind. Among the only things we can take are our own soul (Matt. 16:25-26), our good works done with the right motive (1 Cor. 3:8, Rev. 14:13), and the people we have led to faith in Christ (Dan. 12:3; Phil. 4:1).

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