If you’ve ever wanted to own a piece of the moon, now may be your only chance. A bag containing particles of moon dust from Neil Armstrong’s historical first walk on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission is going up for auction in July.
The bag containing moon dust particles is expected to fetch between $2 million and $4 million when it goes up for auction at Sotheby’s. That’s a lot of cash for a little dust.
During Armstrong’s history-making 1969 walk on the moon, the astronaut collected a sample of lunar rocks and placed them into a bag, then place the bag into a second bag. Decades later, the second bag, which contained particles of moon dust, ended up in the hands of a Kansas museum owner, who was eventually arrested for stealing and selling lunar artifacts. Following the arrest, the bag was confused with a different bag that did not contain moon dust, eventually ending up online and mistakenly listed on a federal auction site.
Nancy Lee Carlson, a lawyer in the Chicago suburbs, found the bag online and bought it. Listed as a ‘lunar sample return,’ the bag was mistakenly placed on the site and went unsold after three public auctions before Carlson placed her winning bid of $995. To recap, the bag is now expected to sell for somewhere between $2 million and $4 million. That’s quite a return on investment.
Carlson sent to the bag to NASA, who confirmed that moon dust, a dark powder, was present inside the bag. Officials at NASA attempted to confiscate the bag once its contents were verified, arguing “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.”
Carlson eventually won her court case against NASA, with a federal judge ruling she was allowed the keep the bag. Now with the bag going to auction on July 20, the 48th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, Carlson says she plans on donating some of the proceeds from the sale to various charities.
If you need us, we’ll be googling different types of dust to buy on the internet.