The Cool History Behind the ‘Incredibly Rare’ Lunar Bible You Need a Microscope to Read

A Bible that has been to the moon and back again was auctioned off Wednesday, with one of the world’s rarest — and smallest — copies of the holy “book” fetching an impressive $75,000.

The so-called “Lunar Bible,” a microfiche that contains both the New and Old Testaments, has taken two notable trips in space. The document first flew around the moon on Apollo 13 and later landed on the moon with the Apollo 14 crew, Reuters reported.

The Bible, which can be read using a microscope, fits all 1,245 pages of the King James Bible on 1 tiny 1.5 by 1.5 inch square.

A screen shot from the Heritage Auctions website (Image source: Heritage Auctions)
A screen shot from the Heritage Auctions website (Image source: Heritage Auctions)

But aside from its size, the auction house said that the text is also unique because it didn’t just merely land on the moon; the microfiche was “exposed directly to the lunar environment” every time the hatch was opened and astronauts moon-walked during the three days they were on the moon’s surface.

“This is an incredibly rare space artifact,” Michael Riley, senior historian at Heritage Auctions, said in a press release.

This particular copy of the “Lunar Bible” is one of 99 others just like it that all traveled to the moon along with astronaut Edgar Mitchell in 1971. But only 12 of these Bibles remain fully in tact, with the auctioned book among them.

The "Lunar Bible" fetched $75,000 at auction (Heritage Auctions)
The “Lunar Bible” fetched $75,000 at auction (Heritage Auctions)

The auction house said that the Bibles were created by the Apollo Prayer League, a group of NASA employees that formed in 1967 in an effort to make a small and light Bible that could go with astronauts to the moon.

In sum, 512 of these Bibles were initially made, but most have been cut up and handed out to dignitaries over the years.

Heritage Auctions sold the book Thursday as part of its “Space Exploration Auction.”

(H/T: Reuters)