Block II prototype Apollo Guidance Computer.
Credit: RR Auction/Don Eyles Collection


RR Auction is offering the Don Eyles Collection in its Fall Space Exploration sale with online bidding running October 11- October 17.

As a 27-year-old MIT computer expert, Don Eyles worked at Draper Labs, the place commissioned by NASA to write the computer code that would take us to the Moon.

Highlights from the collection include; an extremely rare Apollo Guidance Computer prototype—the brain behind the lunar landing.

Electric brain

The Apollo Guidance Computer was in the era of room-sized computers, NASA allocated one cubic foot on their spacecraft for the electric brain that would be responsible for guiding humans to the lunar surface and safely returning them home.

Rather than using the large vacuum tubes or big discrete transistors typical in computers of the time, MIT engineers pioneered the application of integrated circuits—microchips—to accomplish the same task in a diminutive package.

Among additional highlights from the Don Eyles Collection; various mission-used manuals, along with unique computer program printouts.

Book of Mormon carried to the Moon on Apollo 16 by Commander John Young.
Credit: RR Auction/M. Edward Thomas Collection

Book of Mormon

Additional items in the space exploration sale include an extraordinary “Book of Mormon” carried to the Moon on Apollo 16 by Commander John Young, part of the M. Edward Thomas Collection. It was presented to NASA photographer M. Edward Thomas following the mission, signed and flight-certified.

In his capacity as NASA’s astronaut photographer, Marion Edward Thomas (known as “Ed”) worked with John Young in 1972. He was inspired to ask if the Apollo 16 commander planned to take a bible to the Moon with him. Young agreed that having the Lord’s book with him on the momentous occasion was a good idea, and Ed promised to provide him with one.

But fearing that the family’s heirloom bible may not return if tragedy struck, his wife — a devout member of the LDS Church — lent her personal, purse-sized Book of Mormon for the task.

The Space & Aviation Auction from RR Auction began on October 11 and will conclude on October 17. 

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