This is the Case® Astronaut Knife M-1 it’s a modern reissue of one of the most famous machetes in world history – the machetes equipped to the Gemini and Apollo NASA missions for their adventures into space and to the Moon.
When you first hear about the M-1 it isn’t exactly clear why astronauts would need a machete in space, unless they expected to meet some quarrelsome extra-terrestrials on their sojourns across the Moon.
It turns out that the M-1 Machete was developed by NASA and knife maker Case® as part of a collection of equipment to be carried aboard spacecraft for an “off-course” landing on Earth.
They were equipped with two days worth of water and food, a radio beacon, three pairs of sunglasses, two bottles of sunscreen, and one Case® Astronaut Knife M-1 in case they needed to clear foliage or protect themselves from predators.
Interestingly the Soviet space program also equipped their cosmonauts with a similarly sized edged tool, meaning the first weapons taken into space by humans were machetes, not phaser pistols, lightsabers, photon torpedos, or plasma cannons.
The M-1 designed by NASA and built by W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Co. was designed to be lightweight for obvious reasons, it has an 11.75 inch heavy gauge stainless steel machete blade down the front side and a toothed saw blade down the backside.
Each M-1 weighs 7.5 oz or 213 grams, it has a smooth white synthetic handle, the total length is 17 inches, it comes in a commemorative astronaut box and they’re made in Bradford, Pennsylvania just like the originals from all those decades ago.
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