Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell has decided to give up the camera he kept as a memento of his 1971 moon mission rather than face a federal lawsuit over its ownership.
In a settlement he reached with the U.S. government filed with the District Court in southern Florida on Thursday (Oct. 27), the sixth man to walk on the moon agreed to "relinquish all claims of ownership, legal title, or dominion" over the data acquisition camera that flew with him aboard NASA's Apollo 14 mission.
Filed this past June, "United States of America vs. Edgar Mitchell" argued that Mitchell was not assigned clear title for the camera and that it was the "exclusive property of the United States."
Mitchell countered that charge by referring to a practice within the 1970's astronaut office that allowed the Apollo astronauts to keep equipment that hadn't been intended to return from the moon so long as the items did not exceed weight limitations and were approved by management.
In trying to have the suit dismissed, Mitchell also argued that the government had otherwise abandoned the camera when it directed for it to be left behind to impact the moon and be destroyed. [read more]