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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Nov > Nov 19

One Small Disc Carried One Giant Message For

From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2007 08:23:52 -0500
Archived: Mon, 19 Nov 2007 08:23:52 -0500
Subject: One Small Disc Carried One Giant Message For

Source: Space.Com - New York, NY, USA


16 November 2007

[images & links]

The Untold Story: How One Small Disc Carried One Giant Message
For Mankind
By Robert Z. Pearlman

Within a few feet of the first boot print made on the Moon,
under the ladder on which a U.S. flag was stowed and a
commemorative plaque is still attached, lies a small white cloth

Inside that bag, next to a couple of embroidered emblems, medals
and a gold olive branch, is a small case. Contained within that
thin metal sheath is a silicon disc about the size of a half
dollar coin. Etched onto that disc, in letters no larger than
one-fourth the width of a human hair, are 73 messages.

Such an item, as small as it is, hidden as it was, could be
mistaken as insignificant and easily forgotten. And it almost
was... twice, as Tahir Rahman, a Kansas-based physician and
space history enthusiast reveals in his new book, "We Came In
Peace For All Mankind: The Untold Story Of The Apollo 11 Silicon

Rahman, who as a hobby collects Apollo 11 memorabilia, in
particular letters and documents signed by astronaut Neil
Armstrong, recently came across a duplicate of the disc
deposited on the Moon and became curious as to its history.

"I thought I knew most aspects of the Apollo 11 mission," Rahman
wrote to collectSPACE.com. "When I acquired a disc for my
collection, I quickly discovered that only a sentence or two was
mentioned about it in space history books." So, Rahman set about
filling in the missing story.

After deciding to plant an American flag on the Moon and before
the wording was finalized for the plaque declaring that "we came
in peace for all mankind," the U.S. State Department authorized
NASA to solicit messages of good will from the leaders of the
world's nations to be flown and left on the Moon.

There were only two minor challenges: NASA didn't know yet how
they would archive those messages for flight and as it was June
1969, there was only one month remaining before Apollo 11 would
launch for the lunar surface.

"I was amazed at how NASA and the State Department rushed to get
these messages before launch," Rahman said. In his book, he
describes how 116 countries were contacted but only 73 responded
in time. Some, confused by the request, replied asking for more
details without realizing that the window for their inclusion
was closing fast.

"In view of our total ignorance of this project," began a
telegram from the King of Thailand included in "We Came In
Peace," "would appreciate any information you can provide
concerning NASA's invitation to send message... number of
countries responding... methods of recording and method of
deposit on the Moon."

Regarding the 'methods of recording and deposit,' NASA turned to
the Sprague Electric Company of North Adams, Massachusetts, for
a solution. No stranger to working for the government -- the
company had designed a firing capacitor for the Manhattan
Project -- Sprague was also an established NASA contractor with
more than 50,000 components of their manufacture already
installed in the Apollo 11 spacecraft.

Still, this contract was unique, requiring a new material, a new
invention (Rahman includes the text of the patent in the book's
appendix) and a short turnaround of just three weeks. Even after
devising the technique to inscribe the microscopic messages on
the 1.5 inch, 99%-pure silicon disc and delivering a 'final'
version just a week prior to lift off, Sprague was sent
scrambling again by NASA to add more nations' notes that were
late to arrive.

Nor were these messages simple texts. Some included intricate
artwork, such as the Vatican's message by Pope Paul VI. Though
not visible to the naked eye, a low-power magnification was all
that was needed to reveal the mini masterpieces.

"The first time I looked through a microscope at the disc, I was
amazed. There were all these messages in foreign languages in
beautiful gold scripts. The message from the Vatican in the
center was especially stunning with its gold ornate frame,"
Rahman described.

On July 11, 1969, just five days before a Saturn V rocket was
set to take off with Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael
Collins, Sprague delivered the second, final disc to NASA. The
space agency packaged the round wafer in a metal case resembling
a woman's make-up compact to protect it during its journey to
the Moon. That in turn was placed in a small pouch with other
commemorative items, which Aldrin would carry in his spacesuit's
sleeve pocket.

On July 20, as Collins orbited the Moon, Armstrong and Aldrin
landed on its surface. History's first moonwalkers had only two
and a half hours to explore the lunar terrain, collect 50 moon
rocks and set-up scientific instruments. Their checklists also
called for them to take part in a few commemorative activities,
including erecting the U.S. flag and reading the inscription
from the plaque attached to their lander. Unscheduled events,
such as a surprise call from President Nixon compressed their
timeline further.

Thus, as Aldrin was climbing up the ladder to reenter their
spacecraft for their return home, it was Armstrong who
remembered the "package" on Aldrin's arm.

"How about that package out of your sleeve? Get that?" Armstrong
called out.

"No," Aldrin replied, "want it now?"

"Guess so," Armstrong said, and with that Aldrin tossed the
package =96 silicon disc tucked inside =96 down to the Moon's
surface. Armstrong then nudged it with his foot.

"Okay?" Armstrong asked of its placement.

"Okay," responded Aldrin, which was all the pomp and
circumstance the disc would ever receive.


Continue reading One Small (Almost Forgotten) Silicon Disc at=


[Thanks to 'The Norm' for the lead]

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