Leica NASA, c.1966
Sold for HK$ 4,360,000 in Hong Kong, 29 November 2014

Art Market Review

Issue 9, July - December 2014

Page 22

In 1966, NASA ordered 150 Leica cameras, of which this is one, to be used on their lunar missions. Although Hasselblad cameras had been used in many previous space missions, the Leica's lightweight body gave it an edge for the lunar missions where the crucial and untested challenge of lift off from the moon's surface on the return journey meant that every ounce counted. Leica modified its cameras to make them easier to operate in space gloves and the astronauts were taught how to operate them. In the end, however, the Leicas were never used. It was decided to revert to the Hasselblad camera which had an interchangeable film back. This meant that the section containing the film could be removed and brought back to earth while the camera itself could be left behind. Indeed, there are said to be 12 such cameras lying about on the surface of the moon.

Jon Baddeley
Managing Director Knightsbridge

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