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24 May 2017, 05:35 | Audrey Hill
Neil Armstrong's lunar sample bag is one of those items, and it could be yours if your pockets are deep enough. The moon rocks ended up in NASA hands just as expected, but the bag did not. And now she is auctioning off the moon dust, where it's expected to bring in about 4 million dollars. 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. The pouch, used during the Apollo 11 mission to the moon to collect lunar rocks and dust, will be sold at the auction that will be part of Sotheby's Space Exploration sale.
The bag went largely forgotten until 2003, when it turned up in the garage of the president of the Cosmosphere, the space museum in Hutchinson, Kan. You know, credit to the government for going this route - the way civil forfeiture is going these days, they could have said Carlson once knew someone who once thought about the idea of a drug and seized it, so at least they tried to be a little honorable about it. The owner of the museum was later convicted of stealing and selling space memorabilia. Not surprisingly after it was discovered there was still some moon dust left from the historic mission in the bag, NASA claimed ownership. Carlson fought back and, after a protracted legal battle, a U.S. District Court ordered NASA to return the bag in February. I really don't understand why NASA is so determined to have a bag with moon dust on display when I'm sure there's all kinds of artifacts that are on display that are a lot more impressive than a bag with moon dust.
NASA did not have any records of having released the bag and decided not to return the bag to Carlson.
Now Carlson plans to auction the bag off once again on July 20, send some money to charity, and set up a scholarship at her alma mater, Northern Michigan University. In December, a judge ruled the bag legally belonged to Carlson and not to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Sotheby's reported.
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