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History

Computers

"World's first personal computer" sells for €34,000

One of only ten surviving Kenbak-1 personal computers from 1971 has sold at auction for €34,000 (US$36,500). Judged the "first commercially available personal computer" in 1987 by a panel at the Boston Computer Museum that included Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, it's a fascinating piece of history that sheds a light on the chaotic early days of the desktop computer.Read More

Collectibles

First digital computer installed on a manned spacecraft goes to auction

A Space Age collectible that not only represents a first in space, but also a first in computer history is on the auction block in Dallas, Texas. As part of its Space Exploration Signature Auction, Heritage Auctions is taking bids for a vintage random access, non-destructive readout 4,096 bit memory plane that flew on Gemini 3. This ferric memory unit was an integral part of the Gemini Spacecraft Computer, which was the first computer installed in a manned space capsule.Read More

Collectibles

Apollo 15 watch sells for US$1.6 million

A unique relic of the Space Age went on the auction block at RR Auction this week with the Bulova wristwatch worn on the Moon in 1971 by Colonel David Scott as Commander of Apollo 15 sold for US$1,625,000. The Bulova Wrist Chronograph was carried on the mission's third surface EVA as a backup timepiece to the NASA-issue Omega watch worn on US manned missions. The personal property of Scott, it is the only watch to return from the Moon to remain in private hands.Read More

Collectibles

Bonhams scientific instruments sale preview includes rare Enigma machine

An auction of scientific, technological, and musical instruments, soon to be held at 1onhams Auction House in the UK, will headline with a 1941 M4 Enigma machine used by the German military during World War II to send encrypted messages. Unlike the 3-rotor machines whose cipher codes were famously broken by those working at Britain’s Bletchley Park during the war, the 4-rotor model heading to auction is among the rarest of the rare, and is sure to command a high price. Besides cipher machines, however, the sale also offers a range of unusual and sought after examples of scientific instruments and musical automata that should also attract a great deal of interest. We take a look at a few prime examples.Read More

Marine

Paul Allen recovers bell from HMS Hood

One of the great tragedies of the Second World War has been remembered with Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G Allen recovering the bell from the British battlecruiser HMS Hood, which was sunk in battle 74 years ago by Hitler’s flagship Bismarck. The brass ship's bell was recovered from a mile and a half (2.4 km) down in the Denmark Straits by a remote operated submersible (ROV) controlled from Allen's private yacht M/Y Octopus.Read More

Space

New Horizons is go for Pluto flyby

After over nine years of travel in deep space, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is within hours of its historic flyby of Pluto. When the unmanned nuclear-powered probe speeds past the frozen dwarf planet tomorrow at 7:49 am EDT, it will mark not only the success of one of man's most ambitious space missions, but also the completion of the first era of planetary exploration that began in 1962 when the US Mariner 2 mission flew past Venus. Here's what to expect as events unfold.Read More

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