Apollo Astronaut Forced To Surrender Old Moon Camera in Lawsuit Settlement


Apollo 14 lunar module pilot Edgar Mitchell will surrender this flown-to-the-moon 16-mm data acquisition camera to settle a federal lawsuit against him. CREDIT: FLSD

(Robert Z. Pearlman)   Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell has decided to give up the camera he kept as a memento of his 1971 moon mission rather than face a federal lawsuit over its ownership.

In a settlement he reached with the U.S. government filed with the District Court in southern Florida on Thursday (Oct. 27), the sixth man to walk on the moon agreed to “relinquish all claims of ownership, legal title, or dominion” over the data acquisition camera that flew with him aboard NASA’s Apollo 14 mission.

Mitchell agreed to allow Bonhams, the New York auction house where he had consigned the camera for sale last June, to release the artifact to the government. Bonhams had estimated the camera’s value at $60,000 to $80,000.


The 16-mm camera, which was one of two motion picture cameras on board the Apollo 14 lunar module “Antares” when it landed on the moon on Feb. 5, 1971, will be given within 60 days to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC for display.

According to the the terms of the settlement, which still needs to be signed off by a judge, Mitchell and the federal prosecutors will be responsible for their own legal fees. Earlier this month, MItchell lost his bid for the case to be dismissed after a judge ruled that Florida’s statute of limitations did not apply and any determination if the government had abandoned or gifted the camera would need to be made in court.

Apollo 14 astronaut Ed Mitchell. CREDIT: NASA

Acquiring the acquisition camera

The 6-inch long by 4-inch high by 2-inch thick (15 by 10 by 5 cm) data acquisition cameras (DAC) were flown to record engineering data and lunar surface imagery. This particular camera was mounted inside the lunar module, pointed out the window on Mitchell’s side of the lander. [Lunar Legacy: 45 Apollo Moon Mission Photos]

The camera shot the final five minutes of the Antares landing, as Mitchell’s crewmate, commander Alan Shepard, piloted the spacecraft to a touchdown on the moon’s Fra Mauro Highlands.

After more than 33 hours on the surface, including two moonwalks and a couple of swings with a makeshift golf club, Shepard and Mitchell blasted off from the moon’s surface with the camera still on board.

The mission plan called for the DACs to be left in Antares to save weight aboard the command module “Kitty Hawk,” the capsule that would return the two moonwalkers and pilot Stu Roosa to Earth. The lunar module and all its contents would be left to slam back onto the moon just a day later.

Before parting ways with the lander though, Mitchell saved the DAC and, together with various other spacesuit and spacecraft hardware that he and Shepard chose to retain as mementos, returned it to Earth.

Souvenir or stolen goods

Filed this past June, “United States of America vs. Edgar Mitchell” argued that Mitchell was not assigned clear title for the camera and that it was the “exclusive property of the United States.”

Mitchell countered that charge by referring to a practice within the 1970’s astronaut office that allowed the Apollo astronauts to keep equipment that hadn’t been intended to return from the moon so long as the items did not exceed weight limitations and were approved by management.

In trying to have the suit dismissed, Mitchell also argued that the government had otherwise abandoned the camera when it directed for it to be left behind to impact the moon and be destroyed.

Less than a month after the suit was filed, in a seemingly unrelated move, NASA released guidelines for protecting and preserving the Apollo hardware on the moon, including the crash sites of its lunar modules.

The government never made clear what distinguished the camera from other Apollo-returned hardware that Mitchell and other moonwalkers kept and sold without any sort of legal challenge.

Along with a number of other astronauts including James Lovell and Al Worden, MItchell has consigned other flown items to an upcoming Nov. 30 auction of space artifacts and memorabilia arranged by Heritage Galleries in Dallas, Texas. Mitchell’s lots include American and international flags carried to the moon on Apollo 14.


23 Responses to Apollo Astronaut Forced To Surrender Old Moon Camera in Lawsuit Settlement

  • I don’t believe man went to the moon. That was just one of many US hoaxes.

  • Gods forbid that the US government actually show a little appreciation to one of its few living heroes and just let the man do what he wants with a salvaged camera. NASA has had a history of not giving a crap about it’s own history anyway (lost apollo footage found in an old mcdonalds anyone?) Now they want to lay claim to it after all these years? Pathetic bureaucrats.

  • Zionazi “Economic Terrorists” that print the currency, OWN the Media and operate a crack house called Congress are not “government”…Just TERRORISTS ! See the Bolshevik POLICE STATE and TSA anal probes/molestations….but NO arrests of the Massmurderers of the Davidians or OKC or the Zionazi INSIDE JOB on 9/11. Government is not defined for Americans as Zionazi terrorists….despite talmudvision or CGI fakery.[http://disc.yourwebapps.com/discussion.cgi?disc=149495;article=139138;title=APFN] If Ed Mitchell used that Camera in Nevada during the Apollo mission…shucks let him have it, he earned it. ARREST THE ECONOMIC TERRORISTS….stop pussyfooting around….avoiding the ISSUE!!

  • None of the Apollo astronauts ever left Earth orbit, because of the intense cosmic radiation which exists outside of Earth’s protective magnetic fields. If any Apollo astronauts had gone to the Moon, they would have come back either gravely ill or dead from cosmic radiation poisoning. Here’s a video of the Apollo 11 astronauts faking a long-distance shot of Earth by using a cardboard cutout to block out the enormous and bright Earth visible in their port window – they were clearly in Earth orbit, but they were telling ground control and the viewing public that they were halfway to the Moon:


    Here is a video of psychotic Apollo astronauts freaking out when confronted about whether they actually went to the Moon. Edgar Mitchell is the guy kicking filmmaker Bart Sibrel in the butt and yelling at him to get out of his house. In the the full video, available at http://www.moonmovie.com, Edgar Mitchell’s son can be heard saying, “Should we call the CIA to have him whacked?” Really nice people. The Apollo astronauts and their families are probably all under CIA death threats if they ever reveal the truth that they never left Earth orbit:

  • This reminds me of the one Take-Off from the Moon where the Lander shows no signs of Jet’s or Engine blasts in it’s take-off, Then as it takes off, The Scene is shot where as it lifts the Camera is tilted UP to show the Lift off. WHO was there to Change the Camera angle? An Automatic PAN Action of a Camera that knew when to raise it’s level of plain to be able to capture that exact moment?

    Then on Google Earth, You can look at the Deep Craters on Mars and see the paths of old flows, Crater Rim’s and Floors. BUT!!! In Google Earth, Using the Moon you can’t find ONE PIECE of any Lunar Lander but only Bookmarks of Where they SHOULD BE.

    My Question is of course is, Why is the Clarity of MARS so damn good and yet so far away, and yet the Moon is so close that You would think our view would not be a fuzzy picture and limited to Bookmarks?

    I too doubt they ever went to the moon, The Van Allen radiation belt which they know NOTHING ABOUT in the 60’s, To fly Men with aluminum suits through that span of Thousands of Space Miles (TWICE) and the amount of Radiation IN SPACE. I just can’t see how they were not Micro-waved to death in their trip to and from Earth to the Moon.

    Read exactly what the Van Allen Radiation belt IS and you too will ask questions. Perhaps Ann Coulter has traveled through that same Radiation and saw that it too was good for you?


  • We simply don’t have the technology NOW to send man to the moon, and if you ever saw the flimsy outfits they wore (they are like paper) you could not possibly believe it happened. All a hoax, like anything the USA government says or does.

  • Ah they just want to make sure that proof of Aliens inhabiting the Moon isn’t out for everyone to see

  • Let’s call out the Zio Nazis. They’re the same satanic Jews that have been kicked out of 109 countries over the centuries. Let’s make it 110. AIPAC is a foreign lobby group. Make theses Jews register. And whilst we’re at it – no money or free arms to Israel.

    Let Mitchell keep the damn camera!

  • The Bankers are foreclosing on the United States and they want absolutely everything.

  • Just like having a Spanish shipwreck full of treasure in US waters for hundreds of years, this fascist gov’t will let it lay there UNTIL some enterprising soul finds and recovers it. THEN and ONLY then will this fascist gov’t say “Oh it’s REALLY ours and we want it NOW; all of it!” And so it goes on and on and on. Never mind the fact that this fascist gov’t spnet BILLIONS of $$$ on Apollo they never could have recovered on crap, just let someone get a little momento and sell it in their old age, and whammo, the fascist boom falls on them like the IRS jumping on a quarter on a dead man’s eyes. Read “1984” folks, and see what Eric Blair was telling us way back in 1948. Read “The Gulag Archipelago” and see what Solginytsen was telling us of his adventures in Marxist/Zionist/Fascist Russia. It’s here folks, it’s here.

  • @MajWilliamMartin
    The movie footage you are talking about was from Apollo 17. The camera was part of the Lunar Rover, which was parked some distance away. It was remotely controlled from Earth and kept running for some time after the Lunar Module ‘Challenger’ departed. One question I have for all the people who don’t believe that men went to the moon… why fake six missions? It just doesn’t make aense. Not forgetting the Gemini and Mercury missions which preceded Apollo. What also doesn’t make sense to me is why America would throw that technology away in favour of essentially ‘driving around the block’ for thirty years in an overrated pickup truck called the Shuttle. Anyway, just my 2 cents.

  • @montag – faking six missions because it’s a lot cheaper to fly around in earths upper orbit while pocketing the billions of dollars SUPPOSEDLY required to fulfill NASA’s never ending budget..

    The radiation is key – too much radiation and not enough hard evidence.. Stanley Kubrich’s wife wrote quite a bit about him assisting NASA with fake moon footage..

  • Now that they have scrapped the U.S. shuttle program and left the nation with no manned spacecraft, perhaps they should burn all living astronauts at the stake for their hubris of great feats. America is dead and gone, and real heroes are being condemned by the criminals in charge of the communist revolution killing us!

  • Our government is purposeful and wise. If you have bootlegged a DVD or music mp3, sold unpasteurized milk, tried to manufacture guitars or attempted to sell a moon rock on EBay then LOOK OUT! You bad guys will meet your doom! And don’t even THINK about making some Nambla/high melanin person feel ‘not included’, in any way.

    However, when it comes to unimportant things like insider trading,
    gross fiscal incompetence, selling the Chinese military MIRVing technology (for just 100K), bankrupting the nation, exporting out manufacturing base, devaluing our currency, causing inflation, not reporting the fallout from two! meltdowns,
    ignoring our border while 15 million or so illegal colonists move in,
    serial war making, … well then, nothing to see here, move along, move along.

  • I guess i should get used to the idiots that know so much and can prove the US never got to the moon. They’re right, it can’t be done now. There haven’t been any moon capable space craft since ’72, if I remember correctly. The ships had protection for the radiation expected, and don’t forget, they traveling at something like 25,000 mph. They didn’t stay in the Van Allen Belt for very long. Funny how the other nations excepted that they got there, even the USSR sent congradulations. I believe it was England that got the 1st measurements to the damaged Apollo 13 mission. (They were pointed at Apollo at the time.) The scientists around the world were pleased to get a moon rock to explore. They know the missions got the moon. I wish the non believers would read a high school text book, then do some research of their own. They might learn something.

  • With all the money that was poured into NASA every time they wanted to fake a Moon landing or whatever I’m suprised they only did it six times, and yeah what a way to treat an American hero, NASA should thank the guy for bringing it back to Earth and keeping it safe all these years.

  • The propagandists have done their jobs so well… far too many people believe the “we faked the moon landings” story on such stupid and easily refuted claims. I see this a triumph of the art of disinformation. I read in Dark Moon by Richard Hoagland of a tract being handed out by a unknown man being personally escorted by the director of NASA on the very eve of Apollo 11. These tracts claimed that the just-achieved historic first moon landing was a fake. So what Dick’s telling us is that this very stupid conspiracy goes back to the very beginning of the effort. And that it is propaganda from a very high level! I believe a lot of conspiracy theory is disinformation designed to make the genuine conspiracies seem too loony to believe… and it has worked! You imbeciles fall for it every damn time! The moon landings were REAL… but this is not the end of the story. Go find it for yourselves.

  • @Slick Vick
    I’m sorry to contradict you but I think you will find that getting into Earth orbit is the most expensive part of any space mission. After that you are essentially free falling toward your destination. It’s called gravity.

  • The govt. is furious at Mitchell for speaking out on Roswell. These were his words: My major knowledge comes from what I call the old-timers, people who were at Roswell and subsequent who wanted to clear the things up and tell somebody credible even though they were under severe threats and things — this was back in the Roswell days. Having gone to the moon and being a local citizen out in the Roswell area some of them thought I would be a safe choice to tell their story to, which they did. Even though the government put real clamps on everybody, it got out anyhow.

    Subsequent to that, I did take my story to the Pentagon — not NASA, but the Pentagon — and asked for a meeting with the Intelligence Committee of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and got it. And told them my story and what I know and eventually had that confirmed by the admiral that I spoke with, that indeed what I was saying was true.

    IK: You mean what had been told to you was true?

    EM: Yup, in other words. There was a UFO crash. There was an alien spacecraft. This gentleman tried his damndest to get me in and like so many others in the administration over the last 60 years, since JFK’s time, was unable to. He was told ‘Admiral, you don’t have a need to know, and therefore go get lost,’ essentially.

  • After hearing this, I’m sure all young kids want to be astronauts. Knowing their lord and master govt. will STEAL any souvenir they happen to keep.

    I would NOT ALLOW my children to work for this criminal Israeli controlled govt. in any way shape or form.

  • Man never walked on the moon but Jesus rose from the dead

  • A National travesty to sue one of our Nation’s Heroes, recipient of the Medal of Freedom and the sixth man to risk his life and set foot on the Moon.

    Shame on NASA and our Government!

    Write your Congressman and Representatives to sponsor a Bill in Congress for the return of this camera.

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