Collection of Dr. Otto Berg

Lots 1-49: Dr. Otto Berg (1917-2017) was a pioneering astrophysicist who began innovative high-altitude research while working with the Naval Research Laboratory using captured Nazi V-2 rockets in 1948, years before the birth of NASA. He became a 'charter member' of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, where he served as head of the Cosmic Dust Section. He was the Principal Investigator (P.I.) for several rocket probe experiments, launched on Aerobee sounding rockets, before satellites were perfected. He was P.I. for two heliocentric (sun-orbiting) missions, Pioneer 8 and 9, and for the Lunar Ejecta and Meteorites (LEAM) experiment placed on the moon by the Apollo 17 astronauts. He is credited as author of co-author of some 67 published scientific papers, and was awarded the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement in 1977. Upon retirement, Berg was invited to work for the Max Planck Institute in Germany, and was subsequently employed as a space consultant with the University of Maryland.

The depth and breadth of Berg's work is truly astounding - from early V-2 rocket research all the way through Apollo 17, he had a hand in practically every important early NASA project. In the mid-1950s, he assembled a famous photomosaic of Earth from space using film footage taken at an altitude of 100 miles, published widely in magazines like Life and Look. Studies in cosmic dust would come to dominate the rest of his career. His experiments proved important for manned spaceflight - specifically for EVAs - as they showed that the probability of an astronaut being struck by micrometeoroids was drastically smaller than originally believed.