40th Anniversary of Moon Landing

As Told Through Archive Footage And Interview With A Local Collector

POSTED: 01:35 PM PST Dec 14, 2012 
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -

Photojournalist Chris Tarpening brings us the story of local collector James Ruddy of Rancho Mirage.  James talks about why the brave heroes that made the Moon landing possible 40 years ago.

"The moon walkers are to me the heroes of the scientific exploration of the world." 

"Just thought of man stepping on another world  not only stepping there he ate, he slept, he drove a car..." Laughs Ruddy.

"I've been a collector all my life, and 14 years ago I saw in an auction catalog a piece of equipment.  It would have been on the surface of the moon and I thought, oh my goodness I would love to have something like that.  That started me on the quest." 

Ruddy says it took a while to gather a collection. "It took me a year or two before I found other things, but then after the 14 years I only have about twenty something items, but every one of them except one was on the surface of the moon."

"They took unbelievable risks they had incredible lucky experiences because they had many many situations where the wrong decision, the wrong yes or no could have caused a disaster" says James.

"These people were absolutely marvelous"

"My favorite piece would have to be the manifest where all of the moonwalks and soil brought back on Apollo 16 mounted to over 200 lbs.  This manifest was written on on the surface of the moon by Charlie Duke, Commander of Apollo 16 and he would come in with his partner John Young and they would, after they took their helmets off and sit down still have their dirty suits on covered with moon dust and weigh the rocks to  distribute  them in equal proportions around the lander so they can take off on an even keel.  Everytime they  touched this piece of paper they left moondust.  And they did this 3 separate times for the 3 excursions that they took on the moon. I'm encouraged about the fact that space is certainly on the agenda for the world."

"That's a pretty amazing thing" says Ruddy "this is a perfect collection for me to end my collecting years because there is definitely a limit at what you can collect" laughs Ruddy.