Of course, the bag Apollo 11 astronauts Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin used to collect moon rocks was never supposed to be sold at auction, but that's what happened due to the combined forces of good old fashioned theft and an inventory screw-up. The government said the "rare artifact" was mistakenly sold.
A small white NASA pouch marked as Lunar Sample Return, which was bought by Nancy Lee Carlson two years ago for $995, is expected to go on sale for $4 million at the Sotheby's auction. "It's a relic of one of the most historic achievements of humanity".
"This seemingly modest bag played a crucial role in the most important scientific task of the Apollo 11 mission - to bring back the first sample of lunar material ever collected".
A bag used by astronaut Neil Armstrong will hit the auction block this summer. After no one bid on it in three initial auctions, she bought it in February 2015.
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She sent it off to Nasa to be tested, where they found traces of moon dust still on it!
Carlson sued, and in December of 2016, judges ordered the bag returned to her. A number printed on the inside of the bag matched with that of the bag listed on the stowage list for the Apollo 11 mission. It was recovered in 2003 during a criminal investigation against the director of the Kansas Cosmosphere at that time, and the dust was misidentified. But inside, it's laced with an exquisite and extremely valuable material: moon dust.
NASA opposed private ownership of the bag, which was part of an epic national program, and issued a statement following the court ruling: "This artifact, we believe, belongs to the American people and should be on display for the public, which is where it was before all of these unfortunate events occurred". The attorney plans to donate a portion of the sale proceeds to charity, and to establish a scholarship at her alma mater, Northern Michigan University, Reuters reported.
Sotheby's NY announced over the weekend that the bag will be offered in the auction house's space exploration sale on July 20, the anniversary of the moon landing.