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In April, Bonhams auction house held a space history sale in New York City timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Apollo 13. An Apollo 11 checklist page that details the countdown to the first footsteps on the moon sold for US $152 000. The sheet boasts Neil Armstrong’s signature, along with his historic first words from the moon’s surface. The page was allegedly given as a gift to NASA press officer John McLeaish just days after the first moonwalkers returned. But the purchase is not without intrigue: Armstrong himself swears he never signed the quote for anyone.
This isn’t hard to do when the project has been in the works for a long time and is progressing on schedule—the coming first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System, for example. For other stories, we must go farther out on a limb. A case in point: the description of a hardware wallet for Bitcoin that the company formerly known as Square (which recently changed its name to Block) is developing but won’t officially comment on. One thing we can predict with confidence, though, is that Spectrum readers, familiar with the vicissitudes of technical development work, will understand if some of these projects don’t, in fact, pan out. That’s still okay.
Engineering, like life, is as much about the journey as the destination.