November 1, 2011
Apollo Astronaut Returns Camera To NASA
According to papers filed on Thursday of last week, federal prosecutors and former astronaut Edgar Mitchell have settled on an agreement over a camera brought back during the Apollo 14 moon mission.
Mitchell claimed the camera was a gift from NASA, which he tried auctioning off.The papers said Mitchell will give up any claim to the 16 mm motion picture camera and agree to return it to NASA. The Apollo 14 camera shot the final five minutes of the Antares landing.
Both sides agreed to pay their own legal expenses, and a judge was expected to sign off on the settlement in the coming days.
Mitchell's attorney Armen R. Vartian said his client decided the settlement was the best way to resolve the conflict.
Mitchell said the government had otherwise abandoned the camera when it directed it to be left behind to impact the moon and be destroyed.
A month after the lawsuit, NASA released guidelines for protecting and preserving the Apollo hardware on the moon.
The camera was one of two that went to the moon's surface during the Apollo 14 mission. Mitchell was the pilot during that mission, which took place in 1971.
Mitchell and Alan Shepard spent time collecting nearly 100 pounds of lunar samples during Apollo 14.
Image Caption: Mitchell studies a map while walking on the Moon, February 6, 1971. Credit: NASA/Alan Shepard
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