Fifty years ago today, we had liftoff. Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Micheal Collins were en route to the moon, traveling thousands of feet per second.
But aside from all the necessary equipment needed for a moon landing mission, each astronaut had his own Personal Preference Kit (or PPK) containing mementos from home. The contents of PPKs are largely kept private and only revealed if the astronaut or the family chooses.
Over the years, we've learned more about what items Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins chose to take with them as they made history.
Pieces of the historic Wright Flyer: Armstrong honored his fellow Ohians and pilots Wilbur and Orville Wright by taking pieces of fabric and the propeller from the Wright Flyer, which the Wright brothers flew in the first powered flight in 1903. Armstrong worked with the U.S. Air Force Museum to take the pieces to the moon's surface, according to Hansen's biography of Armstrong.
Fraternity pin: Armstrong was a member of Phi Delta Theta at Purdue University and brought his fraternity pin on the Apollo 11 mission.
Olive branch pin: According to "First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong" by James R. Hansen, Armstrong brought a gold olive branch pin that would later be given to his wife, Janet. Aldrin and Collins did the same, presumably with Armstrong or Aldrin carrying Collins' pin to the moon's surface while he piloted the command module above the moon's surface.How to experience the Apollo 11 mission as it happened, no time or space travel required
A chalice, bread and wine: Aldrin, a church elder at Webster Presbyterian Church in Webster, Texas, brought bread and wine to take communion as he and Armstrong waited to walk the moon's surface.
"This is the LM pilot. I’d like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way,” Aldrin said in the broadcast to Earth before ending the broadcasting, reading from the Gospel of John and taking communion.Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins shares unseen photo of crew that he found 'at the bottom of a box'
Collins brought a few different trinkets in his PPK. “On Apollo 11 I carried prayers, poems, medallions, coins, flags, envelopes, brooches, tie pins, insignia, cuff links, rings, and even one diaper pin,” Collins said, according to Craig Nelson's book "Rocket Men." "Some things belonged to me and some to others. The only criterion was that the object had to be small, but none matched the ingenuity of one gent for whom I carried a small hollow bean, less than a quarter of an inch long. Inside it were fifty elephants, carved from slivers of ivory, which he planned to distribute to his coworkers after the flight."
Three flags: Among the small items Collins carried with him in flight, Collins brought the U.S. Flag, the flag of the District of Columbia and the flag of the U.S. Air Force flag on the Apollo 11 mission.
A shaving kit: Collins also brought a tube of Old Spice shaving cream and a razor in his PPK, which are now on loan to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.