A close-up look at the textured lunar samples collected by Neil Armstrong during Apollo 11 mission. (Image credit: Bonhams New York) Photograph:( Others )
Bonhams, an auction company in New York, said the one-of-a-kind pieces of space history are expected to fetch between $800,000 to $1.2 million
The lunar samples collected by American astronaut Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 mission are heading to auction.
They are a part of a batch that contains five aluminum sample stubs. They are each 10 mm of carbon tape that contains moon dust.
Bonhams, an auction company in New York, said the one-of-a-kind pieces of space history are expected to fetch between $800,000 to $1.2 million.
They were deemed “lost by NASA.” They had been stolen by Max Ary, a past curator of the Cosmosphere space museum in Hutchinson, Kansas.
But they were later confiscated by the US Marshal and Dr. Roy Christoffersen at NASA confirmed that they were the same samples.
To ensure they were a match, NASA scanned electron microscope (SEM) sample stubs containing the lunar dust.
Lunar expert and geologist Prof. Stephen J. Mojzsis said, “This suggests that the sampling protocol was different in orientation and technique (from) the other samples.”
Earlier, more than 70 original NASA photographs including a celebrated image of Buzz Aldrin's moonwalk taken by Neil Armstrong were sold at auction in Copenhagen on Wednesday for more than 155,000 euros ($172,000).
Apollo 11 was the American spaceflight that first landed humans on the Moon.
The last time man set foot on the Moon was in 1972 during the Apollo 17 mission, but NASA is planning to send astronauts again in 2025-2026.
(With inputs from agencies)