This cathedral has a stained glass window with a moon rock inside

Most church's stained glass windows depict scenes from the Bible...but the Washington National Cathedralisn't most churches; I mean,...

Most church's stained glass windows depict scenes from the Bible...but the Washington National Cathedral isn't most churches; I mean, they have a freaking Darth Vader statue on the facade-- but the surprise inside one of their stained glass windows is even more epic: a moon rock. From the moon. Inside the window. Which is outer space-themed.

The 3.6 billion year old sample (which contains a mineral that was previously unknown on Earth, pyroxferroite) was donated to the cathedral by Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. The window itself, which features an abstract design of stars and planets, was donated by Dr. Thomas O. Paine, who was the NASA administrator during the Apollo 11 mission. The 7 gram rock was sealed in a nitrogen chamber between two pieces of glass, each 2.5 inches thick and banded together with steel. It was then set inside the window. Fittingly enough, a memorial service was held for Armstrong at the cathedral following his death in 2012.

While the Space Window is by far the craziest stained glass window in the cathedral, it's definitely not the only one of note. While there are plenty that depict Biblical and religious scenes, others tell the story of American history. One window is dedicated to the Lewis and Clark expedition, another is about the raising of the American flag at Iwo Jima, and there are some that feature Confederate General Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. The best way to get the full story on the unique windows is to take their behind-the-scenes tour-- it gets you up close and personal with the colorful stained glass!

Header via Flickr

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