Montana’s Strange Connection To Iconic Nude Photo On The Moon
Hearing stories or reading about historic events that have Montana connections is exciting to me. The great people who have passed through our state or were born here and have gone on to do great things always brings me a sense of pride of being from Montana. There's one story that I hadn't heard before and it involved a prank, a Playboy picture, the moon and a connection to Montana.
Playboy Model and Actress Attended University of Montana
Reagan Wilson spent some time in Missoula and attended the University of Montana to study journalism. According to Wikipedia, she eventually moved to Los Angeles in the late 1960's and became an actress and a model. She appeared in movies like "Blood Mania" and "Running With the Devil". She also posed nude for Playboy magazine. It was one of those pictures that landed on the moon in 1969.
The Story Wasn't Made Public For Years
According to an article from Fast Company, the public didn't know the story until 1994 when it was published in Playboy magazine. 25 years after the mission. When the Apollo 12 astronauts were going to the moon, they had lots of checklists for the tasks that needed to be done. As a joke one of the ground crew decided to add in some photos of Playboy models into the checklists. There were pictures that were put into their checklist binders and the ones they wore on their space suits. One of the pictures was of Reagan Wilson.
The Astronauts Kept It Quiet
An interesting part of the story, is when the astronauts discovered the photos, they kept the news to themselves. They didn't mention any of it over the radio, since they knew that their radio transmissions were broadcast to the public. They also didn't mention any of it the press when they got back to Earth.
One of the Most Iconic Photos Includes a Naked Picture
One of the most famous photos taken from the Apollo 12 mission is of astronaut Pete Conrad, who was the third person to walk on the moon. The picture is him holding a camera of his own with the lunar modular over his left shoulder. The picture was taken by Alan Bean. According to the story, if you zoom in on that famous picture you can see that the checklist on his arm is turned to a photocopied picture of Playboy model Reagan Wilson. According to the story, the person behind the prank was Dave Scott, who later would head the Apollo 15 mission.
The International Space Station
Gallery Credit: Ed Nice