12:18 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time on Aug. 2, 1971, Commander David Scott of Apollo 15 placed a 3 ½-inch-tall aluminum sculpture onto the dusty surface of a small crater near his parked lunar rover. At that moment the moon transformed from an airless ball of rock into the largest exhibition space in the known universe.

Between mouthfuls, van Hoeydonck and Scott discovered shared obsessions with archaeology and Mayan mythology. At the end of the evening, van Hoeydonck praised Scott and Irwin: “ ‘You guys are like the knights that existed in medieval time—the astronauts of the Holy Grail,’ I told them. They toasted me, ‘Look what this guy says! Let’s get him a sculpture on the moon!’

Two days after the NASA press conference, van Hoeydonck wrote to the Apollo 15 crew: “To open the way to the Stars is the most important mission of man in this century.” In a separate letter, sent directly to Scott the same day, he added, “Sorry you didn’t find an ancient temple but … the experience of walking on the moon must be out of our dimensions.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.