Graffiti Discovered in Historic Apollo 11 Space Module

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, graffiti is the most common type of property vandalism, seen in 35% of all cases. In fact, it’s so common that apparently it’s even made its way to outer space.

Staff from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. and the Smithsonian’s 3D Digitization Program have discovered writing on the interior of the walls of the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia.

The astronaut graffiti, which as gone unseen for the last 50 years, was written by the crew on their historic mission to the moon in July of 1969. The writing on the walls gives a unique insight into that world changing mission, crewed by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins

Allan Needell, curator of space history at the museum, commented about the module that “This isn’t just a piece of machinery, it’s a living artifact.”

Curators at the Space Museum have been working with the Smithsonian’s 3D Digitization Program to create a high resolution and interactive model of the entire spacecraft. The model will be used in an interactive display in the museum’s exhibition “Destination Moon,” which is scheduled to open in 2020.

The graffiti includes notes, figures and a calendar, and will allow the museum’s curators to compile a more accurate account of how the missions were conducted.

The Smithsonian 3D team brought in its technology partner, Autodesk Inc, to help with the production of the complicated and detailed scan. Autodesk used specially designed equipment to scan the space craft and processed the complex data from multiple 3D capture devices to create one highly detailed and accurate model.

Vince Rossi, a 3D imaging specialist with the Smithsonian, commented that “We want to allow anyone with an internet connection the ability to experience what it was like to sit in the cockpit of the Apollo Command Module.”

Gizmodo reports that the analysis is still ongoing, so it’s possible that the team may make more discoveries about Apollo 11 soon.

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