Apollo 11 moon dust found at Auction house after 40 years, returned to Johnson Space Center

By on Jun 26, 2011 in Astronomy, Science, United States Comments

The moon dust taken by the Apollo 11 mission back in 1969 which went missing was recently found in an auction house and was returned to Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

Apollo 11 “The Moon”
Image Credit: Justice.gov

According to a press release by US Attorney Office in Missouri on Thursday, June 23, 2011, the Apollo 11 mission moon dust was found at the Regency-Superior auction in St. Louis early this month.

Apparently, the moon dust was believed to have been smuggled out by a NASA employee that had access Apollo 11 mission camera and sold it a German national in 2001.

NASA’s Office of Inspector General recently informed Regency, a space and aviation memorabilia auction house, and easily agreed to return the moon dust.

“It’s a speck — the size of a fingertip,” David Kols of Regency-Superior auction house was quoted at Time Magazine, in the moon dust could be worth from $1,000 to $1,500.

“But it’s lunar material, and since we’re not going back to the moon in my lifetime or yours, that makes it worth a lot to some people.” Kols added, with US calling it against the law for someone to possess such material.

“It wasn’t much to look at, but I will never be that close to the moon again!” United States Attorney Richard Callahan wrote on its report, with the moon dust staying on his office for a day.

As of this writing, Johnson Space Center laboratory’s preliminary testing on the material was confirmed to be the missing Apollo 11 moon dust, with the completion of testing reportedly to take within two to three weeks more.

The Apollo 11 mission was known to be the first successful landing of man to the moon, which made Neil A. Armstrong the first man on the moon and fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin the second.

Based on reports, around 800 pounds of moon material were collected and brought to Earth for analysis until 1972 when the Apollo 11 mission ended.

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