The Nation: Lunar Profits

An aura of the extraterrestrial Frank Merriwell has always clung to the nation's astronauts—an image of cool, technological grit. In an era of diminished heroes, they were paragons of what almost seemed an archaic ethic of know-how, daring and purity.

But now the patina seems slightly worn. This summer NASA announced that the three Apollo 15 astronauts—David Scott, James Irwin and Alfred Worden—had carried 400 unauthorized stamped envelopes to the moon and back, then let 100 of them out for sale through a German philatelist (TIME, July 24). The three never actually profited by the arrangement, but it raised a sour question...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!