From dust to several hundred thousand dollars. On the occasion of an auction organized by Bonhams in New York (United States), Wednesday, April 13, grains of dust from the Moon will be put up for sale, reports The New Factory. They are from the 1969 Apollo 11 space mission and were collected by Neil Armstrong himself.
In total, there are five samples arranged on a carbon ribbon 10 mm in diameter observable under a microscope. They were estimated between $800,000 and $1.2 million. According to the auction house, it is the “only sample of the Apollo mission that can be sold legally”.
passed from hand to hand
The collection of lunar samples was the primary objective of the Apollo 11 mission. The day after his arrival on the Moon, on July 21, 1969, Neil Armstrong had placed a kilo of tiny fragments of the star inside bag before placing it in another decontamination bag. Once brought back to Earth, the bag of dust was kept by NASA for some time before finally being lost.
This one then ended up in the collection of a former museum curator in Kansas (United States) before the latter was forced to sell it at auction after problems with the law. The new owner of the bag then had it authenticated by NASA, but the American agency decided to keep the dust that was there. However, she had to resolve in turn to return five of the six samples taken after a court decision.
In July 2017, a similar bag had already been auctioned and had finally been sold for 1.8 million dollars (1.5 million euros).