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It’s typically the more dramatic aspects of space travel and exploration that nab the public’s attention. Shuttles and rockets, spacesuits, Primary Life Support Subsystems, and hell, even portable drink bags in zero gravity. But the laundry list of NASA’s gear haul is truly exhaustive when it comes to an astronaut’s needs since they can’t just make a Target run for stuff. This dust brush is one example of an essential piece of equipment pretty much no one normally think of. Having noted from the Apollo 12 mission, the safety concern of lunar dust on spacesuits contaminating the Lunar Module’s environmental control system created the need for a way to clean off spacesuits prior to entering the craft. The specially designed stainless steel brush has ultra-dense bristle composition, a lockable hinged brush head, security loop, and even Velcro strips for zero gravity attachment. The brush you see here with its imprinted serial number SEB39105216-001 never made it into space but was used as a training item for future missions and is now in the care of the Smithsonian as of 1974. It’s one of those rare pieces of American space exploration history that most folks never get to see and never knew even existed.

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