After the tragic fire that killed all three crew members of the Apollo I mission in 1967, Reverend John M. Stout, who had joined NASA in 1962, along with his family established the Apollo Prayer League. The group’s primary purpose was to pray for the safety of the astronauts, and membership rapidly grew to embrace over 40,000 NASA employees.
Efforts to take the Bible to the Moon on Apollo 12 and 13 having failed, a third, successful attempt was made with the assistance of Apollo 14 lunar module pilot Edgar D. Mitchell. Given NASA’s weight restrictions, rather than a large heavy codex, the Apollo Prayer League adopted the use of a new microform technology known as “PCMI” introduced by the National Cash Register Company in 1964. NCR was able to reproduce an entire King James version of the Bible (a total of 1,245 pages) on a microfilm sheet measuring a mere 1 1/2 by 1 1/2 inches. Mitchell carried 100 of the microform bibles aboard the lunar module Antares, as confirmed by NASA's official manifest, and they reached the "Fra Mauro Highlands" of the Moon on 5 February aboard the Antares. Once returned to Earth and released from lunar quarantine, Mitchell presented Rev. Stout with the packet of 100 bibles.
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