A few years ago, Nancy Lee Carlson bought a small white pouch marked “Lunar Sample Return” for $995. Little did she know, it was sprinkled with moon dust and is now up for auction at Sotheby’s for $4 million.
Astronaut Neil Armstrong filled the bag with rocks from the lunar Sea of Tranquility during his trip to the moon on the 1969 Apollo 11 mission. Armstrong originally turned the bag over to a Houston lab, which emptied the rocks and lost track of the pouch. Eventually, it turned up on a U.S. Marshals auction website.
Carlson, a Chicago-area attorney, purchased the pouch and other space-memento items for $995. Spurred by curiosity, she sent it off to NASA for testing. Immediately, NASA claimed the bag belonged to the agency and refused to return it until after a long, intense court battle.
Today, Sotheby’s is describing the pouch as “the most important space artifact to ever appear at auction.” The item will be sold on July 20, the 48th anniversary of the first moon landing.
NASA spokesman William Jeffs told the Wall Street Journal the bag “represents the culmination of a massive national effort involving a generation of Americans, including the astronauts who risked their lives in an effort to accomplish the most significant act humankind has ever achieved.” He firmly believes the bag should be on public display in a museum of some sort.
— Sotheby’s (@Sothebys) May 21, 2017
Source: Huffington Post