Okay, the ring was actually made of gold. Nor did it give Charlie Duke dominion over Middle Earth.

According to the Apollo 16 Flight Journal:

219 25 49 Duke (onboard): Guess what I caught floating out the hatch?

219 25 51 Young (onboard): What?

219 25 52 Mattingly (EVA): What's that -

219 25 53 Duke (onboard): A ring.

219 25 54 Mattingly (EVA): Oh, is that right?

219 25 56 Duke (onboard): Yeah. I think it's yours.

219 25 57 Duke (onboard): (Laughter)

219 25 58 Young (onboard): Yeah, it is.

219 25 59 Duke (onboard): Here, hold it, John.

219 26 00 Young (onboard): That's it, all right. We got it.

What is the backstory behind this ring? Who did it belong to, and why was it floating loose?

catching the brass ring

  • $\begingroup$ Oh, and happy 50th anniversary to the happy couple. $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    Commented Jun 17, 2020 at 4:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There were quite a few gold rings besides the One Ring. Clearly this was one of The Rings of Man. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 17, 2020 at 12:39

1 Answer 1


I don't have a source to point to -- I learned it from some video I checked out from the library when I was in elementary school where Charlie Duke was talking about a large number of things Apollo (if anybody has any idea what that video was, I'd love to rediscover it!).

It was Ken Mattingly's wedding ring. It had gotten lost in the spacecraft at some point earlier, and it started to float out of the spacecraft during the EVA.


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