FLOWN "PLSS" STRAP, EXPOSED TO LUNAR SURFACE.
Lower right side strap from Edgar Mitchell's Portable Life Support System (PLSS). Beta cloth with layers of thermal and micrometeoroid protection, enclosing nylon webbing, 19 x 3 inches in all. Large stainless steel clip at one end, smaller clip at opposite end recessed in a pocket opening. The recessed clip has 4 inspection stamps, part number reading "SV723617-1" and serial number "401." Also at this end, a stitched-on label with stenciled lettering "E.M.-R" (i.e. Edgar Mitchell - right hand side). With an Autograph Letter Signed by Edgar Mitchell.
The PLSS was the large "backpack" worn by astronauts during lunar surface EVAs. It was held on by two shoulder straps, which connected to a ring assembly on the upper chest of the space suit, and two lower straps, which connected to rings just above each hip and prevented the PLSS from shifting sideways.
This strap, the right side strap, was on the moon for over 33 hours, and was exposed to the lunar environment for a total of over 9 hours, on two EVAs lasting 4 hours and 50 minutes and 4 hours and 35 minutes. The second EVA was the longest moonwalk of the Apollo program, during which Edgar Mitchell and Alan Shepard climbed the rim of Cone Crater.
Weighing around 4 ounces, this is one of the largest and heaviest items of space suit equipment used on the lunar surface to be offered in auction. Most of the equipment that had served its purpose was left on the lunar surface prior to lift-off, to maximize the quantity of lunar samples brought back to Earth.
Parts of the strap are slightly grubby, likely with lunar dust. It has been signed and inscribed by EDGAR MITCHELL: "This lower right backpack strap helped support my 'PLSS' during both of my moonwalks: Feb 5-6, 1971. Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 LMP."
Mitchell's letter states that the strap was used "during Extra Vehicular Activities on the Apollo 14 mission to the Fra Mauro Highlands region" and that it "has been in my personal collection of Apollo memorabilia since that time."