Buzz Aldrin’s Com­fort Glove, Apollo 11

Air & Space Smithsonian - - I Was There -

t Com­fort gloves, cus­tom-made for each as­tro­naut us­ing plas­ter casts of their hands, were an op­tional layer de­signed to pro­tect bare skin in­side the larger space­suit gloves. They wicked mois­ture, pro­vided warmth, and pre­vented chaf­ing.

Whether Buzz Aldrin opted to pro­tect his hands from chaf­ing is a mat­ter of some con­tro­versy. The cer­tifi­cate of authen­tic­ity Aldrin pro­vided when he first parted with the glove in 1993 says that it was “worn on the moon at Tran­quil­ity Base.” But in the Apollo 11 oral de­brief­ing, a post-mis­sion in­ter­view eval­u­at­ing the ef­fec­tive­ness of NASA gear, Aldrin and Neil Arm­strong both said they had “elected not” to wear the gloves on the moon.

This co­nun­drum il­lus­trates the va­garies of col­lect­ing his­toric ob­jects: The dif­fer­ence be­tween a glove a man wore in­side his air­tight space­suit as he walked on the moon and a glove he wore in­side his space­suit at other times isn’t mea­sur­able or ob­serv­able. But it makes a plan­e­toid of dif­fer­ence to col­lec­tors like Steve Jurvet­son, who owns the glove. A part­ner at the ven­ture cap­i­tal firm DFJ, he dis­plays his col­lec­tion in his Menlo Park, Cal­i­for­nia of­fice, where he wel­comes up to 5,000 vis­i­tors a year—some of them fel­low busi­ness lead­ers; oth­ers, stu­dents or Boy/girl Scouts who make or­ga­nized vis­its. High-qual­ity pho­tos of his Apollo items can be found on his flickr page.

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