The Apollo 11 mission touched down on the Moon 50 years ago – so let’s celebrate this incredible achievement by... going shopping! Here are some of the more tasteful Earth-bound tributes to man’s ingenuity (and a couple of tasteless options, too).
PG 3 X NASA
Apparently, NASA has a favourite basketball player, and it is Paul George of the LA Clippers (no word on who his favourite astronaut is, though). The space agency collaborated with him (and Nike) in designing the mid-top PG X NASA shoe, which takes its cues from the orange spacesuits and silver hardware of contemporary astronaut-wear, while the red and blue highlights are reminiscent of wiring and switches.
Motivation to reach for the stars comes courtesy of a George quote around the heel: “Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit, when there are footprints on the Moon.” The shoe commemorates Apollo 11 with mini mission-patches on the rear, but if 11 wasn’t your favourite (Apollo 13 is a close second for us, it’s true), other missions get a nod on the rest of the range, which includes a tracksuit, backpack and sweatshirts. And if you can't track down the original orange pair of sneakers, Nike has just announced a special all-silver edition, dropping on July 20, to coincide with the Moon landing…
Price: From $119 | Nike | eBay
Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11
Time and space go hand-in-hand, and to prove it Omega has 32 Moon-related watches and counting. But for the big one, it has released an Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Edition. It isn’t a recreation of the model worn by Buzz Armstrong and the gang on the actual mission: it’s a new, “Moonshine Gold” edition of the commemorative bling handed out to astronauts, dignitaries – and a pre-Watergate Richard Nixon – back in 1969.
Price: $33k | Omega
If that’s too showy, Omega has another offering in stainless steel, albeit featuring a laser-etched gold image of Neil Armstrong’s “Small Step” on the front, and his moonboot’s footprint on the caseback.
Price: $9195 | Omega
Bulova Lunar Pilot Chronograph
Watch buffs will know that Bulova is an unsung hero of the Space Race – its electronic Accutron watches and clocks were critical to NASA’s technology operating in zero gravity, and there’s even a Bulova Accutron Timer left in the Sea of Tranquility by Buzz Aldrin, as part of a transmitter base.
The first "civilian" wristwatch on the Moon was a 1971 Accutron, worn by David Scott after (so the legend goes) his NASA-issued Omega broke, and he was forced to take his own timepiece. To commemorate this ultimate, unlivedownable shade, Bulova has created an updated edition, now packing an ultra-high-frequency quartz movement. The price, you’ll be relieved to hear, is rather down-to-Earth.
Price: $560 | Bulova
Ralph Lauren Polo 11
It’s not official Moon-merch, but Ralph Lauren’s Polo 11 jacket (you see what they did there?) brings together clever self-heating technology and some truly shameless riffing on the NASA stylebook. Its spacesuit-white chunky outer conceals a down-filled lining and a carbon ink panel connected to a battery – if the weather turns inclement, switch it on and it’ll keep you cosy for up to 11 hours (the -270.45 Celsius of space might be beyond its capabilities, though). There’s even a Polo logo arm-patch in the style of the NASA “meatball” – we came for the warming technology, but stayed for the epic puns.
Price: $1246 | Ralph Lauren | Selfridges
Apollo 11 Lunar Lander
Recreate that “Small Step” in miniature with Lego’s highly detailed Apollo 11 Lunar Lander. Featuring 1,087 parts, you will need the nerves of steel and dexterity of a space traveller forced to improvise repairs to their life-support systems to complete this model, aimed at 16+ years. Your reward will be a chunk of lunar surface replete with a Nasa-approved lander and Eagle module.
It’s a really impressive model that’s full of nice details, such as the plaque the astronauts left behind, and the workstations inside the lander – and it’s sort of educational, which is what the astronauts would have wanted, right?
The included minifigs come with snazzy gold visors and Nasa badges, and while they are arguably gender neutral, in reality, they’re depicting men. Due to incredible sexism “logistical issues”, we have yet to see a woman set foot on the Moon, but you can still celebrate the vital contributions women made to the Moon missions with the Women of NASA set, featuring Margaret Hamilton, director of the software engineering division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, which developed on-board flight software for the Apollo missions.
Price: $107 | LEGO
American Optical Original Pilots
Let’s be completely honest: the Apollo 11 astronauts looked really cool. Like, way cooler than current astronauts (sorry, Chris Hadfield – we love you, but this is a science fact).
Part of this is down to some galactic-level accessorising – mystery NASA stylist, we salute you. Ray-Bans were not involved in the mission: instead, the crew were issued with American Optical Original Pilot glasses, and those straight-arm frames with squared-off Aviator-style lenses have been a design icon ever since. Buzz Aldrin famously took his high UV-blocking pair with him on the mission, so AO has missed a trick in not issuing a commemorative pair for the 50th – but then, how can you improve on a classic?
Price: $99 | AO Eyewear
Revo Moonwalker Zero G
If you absolutely must have an Apollo 11 tag, the Revo Moonwalker Zero G glasses come with a NASA pedigree, if not actual Apollo space-time. Founded by a Nasa optical engineer, Revo’s lenses use the same filter coating deployed on satellite panels and space-helmet visors, for a level of UV protection that’s way beyond anything else. Third man on the Moon, Pete Conrad, famously advertised them in 1988, and this polarised serilium-lens model has been reissued with a serial number and certificate, plus a reproduction of that exceptionally 80s advert.
Price: $499 | Revo
For the bookshelf
MoonFire, Norman Mailer
Norman Mailer’s classic 1971 account of the Apollo mission, Of a Fire on the Moon, is excerpted and updated in Taschen’s lavish MoonFire – a Marc Newson-designed tome that’s bursting with archive photography from the NASA vaults, including unseen artefacts such as the original mission logs, plus magazine shots, personal photos and more.
Mailer’s work explores not just the mechanics of getting humans on the Moon, but also the psychological, physical and wider cultural impacts the mission had on the astronauts and the world. Almost 50 years after it was written, it’s still compelling to read – and makes a fitting and oddly moving tribute to the bravery of the astronauts, and the vast support team that got them to the Moon.
Price: £40 | Taschen | Amazon
Apollo Command Module Columbia Cookie Jar
The Apollo crew ate a mostly paste-based diet of puréed food – but since their mission was only a few days long, they managed to get by without a nice biccie.
These days, astronauts are on extended missions that last months, so the food isn’t just about keeping them alive, but keeping them happy – the menu onboard the ISS includes hundreds of options, but something is missing: freshly baked goods.
We don’t want to put anyone off becoming as astronaut, but shockingly, crumbly biscuits are a no-no on the ISS, and spacecraft in general, due to the mess. It’s also really hard to cook something if it’s floating around, but in 2019, an oven will be sent up to test baking cookies in orbit – if space tourism and Earth-orbit hotels are to become a reality, we’ll need to find ways of preparing food in zero-g.
Sadly, the biscuits in question will not be eaten in space, but sent back to Earth for assessment. Which brings us to this fine cookie jar – modelled in ceramic after the Apollo command module which brought the crew back to Earth, you can stuff it full of the kind of treats astronauts can only dream of eating.
Price: $42.95 | The Space Store
And here's something to avoid...
Moon Landing ties
Maybe it’s for a “fun” science teacher; maybe you know someone with no discernible style of their own; maybe you just love the Moon so darned much you want to wear it around your neck? Whichever it is, these “handsome ties” are for you. Or not. Probably not.
Sitting at the centre of a majestic Venn diagram of space travel and formalwear, we invite you to "keep it classy" with an extrapolation of the Apollo 11 mission patch (top image), depicting an eagle swooping majestically over a lunar crater (not scientifically accurate), or induce space-sickness with a dizzying repeated photo-print of a lunar surface map. We’re not judging, BTW.
Apollo 11 tie: $27.95 | NASA
Moon Landing tie: $27.95 | NASA