Get your own bag of (real) moon dust for just $4 million

Lydia Fleming
May 24, 2017

Right after astronaut Neil Armstrong took that first "small step for man" on the surface of the moon in July 1969, he scooped up some lunar rocks, tucked them into a bag and brought them back to Earth.

Sotheby's describes the pouch as "the most important space artifact to ever appear at auction".

Instead, the bag, thought lost, was accidentally sold at a federal public auction in 2015 for $995 to Nancy Lee Carlson, a collector of space memorabilia and lawyer from the Chicago suburbs.

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But once officials knew the bag came from the moon, they confiscated it as government property. It was offered for auction by the U.S. Marshall's office through a small auction house three times in 2014 and didn't get any bids, the Post reported. The auction is slated to take place on 20 July, the 48th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission's historic first moon landing, in NY where the pouch is expected to fetch anything between $2m and $4m - an amount no space exploration artefact has ever commanded at an auction. Before going up for auction the bag belonged to Max Ary of the Kansas Cosmosphere museum; he was convicted of stealing such interstellar objects and putting them up for sale, and when several of his possessions were seized by the government, the moon bag was among them but was mixed up with another bag lacking the treasured dust.

The moon's Crater 308, viewed from orbit during the Apollo 11 mission.

When the bag returned to Earth, the US government emptied it of its contents and dubbed it a national treasure.

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NASA did not have any records of having released the bag and decided not to return the bag to Carlson. Carlson, who happens to be an attorney, had to go to court to gain ownership of the bag.

Carlson sued, and in December of 2016, judges ordered the bag returned to her. Some of the proceeds will go to the Immune Deficiency Foundation and Bay Cliff Health Camp, according to Sotheby's, while Carlson plans to set up a scholarship for speech pathology at North Michigan University, her alma mater.

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Other reports by Info About Network

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