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.
In 1969, Neil Armstrong collected some rocks and dust from the surface of the moon during his historic journey to space, later describing the surface as "fine and powdery". It was recovered in 2003 during a criminal investigation against the director of the Kansas Cosmosphere at that time, and the dust was misidentified. NASA said the bag did indeed have traces of the moon's dark gray powder.
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Auction house Sotheby's says the bag, which carried a half-kilo of material from the Moon to Earth, is one of the few artifacts from the mission that can be purchased by members of the general public - most Apollo 11 gear is held by the Smithsonian. In March, U.S. District Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore in Houston ordered NASA to hand over the bag, as we noted.
Carlson sent the bag to the Johnson Space Center to find out what mission it had been used on.
The bag is expected to go for such a sky-high price because NASA doesn't allow anyone to own any bit of the moon - except for the bag. Carlson, who happens to be an attorney, had to go to court to gain ownership of the bag. The government argued that they never authorized the sale of Armstrong's bag and tried to get the sale reversed.
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NASA put out a statement after the 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".
Carlson plans to donate a portion of the sale proceeds to charity and to establish a scholarship at her alma mater, Northern Michigan University, Reuters reports. Because the bag was thought to have been from the Apollo 17 mission, in which it wouldn't have been used to collect lunar material, it went up for sale on a small auction where it was bought for the measly sum of $995.
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