Once on the moon, Apollo astronauts had two major goals: get themselves and the moon rocks home safe.

To make space on the cramped lunar modules for the hundreds of kilograms of moon samples, the astronauts had to go full Marie Kondo. Anything that wasn’t essential for the ride home got tossed: cameras, hammocks, boots and trash. Downsizing also meant abandoning big stuff, like moon buggies and the descent stage that served as a launchpad for a module’s lunar liftoff.

But the astronauts left more than castoffs. Starting with the Apollo 11 mission, which touched down on July 20, 1969, astronauts left six American flags and plenty of personal and political mementos.Read More..