Today’s Auction Is The
Culmination of a sordid saga involving Apollo astronauts, multiple lawsuits, and scientists aching for a chance to study rare lunar materials.
Neil Armstrong Stood On The
Lunar module's ladder and described the ground’s peculiar texture. “It’s almost like a powder,” he told the Apollo Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas.
Ten Minutes Later
He scooped up a mound of this lunar dust—the first sample ever collected from the surface of another world.
Now, More than 50 Years Later
A pinch of that dust is going to a new owner: An anonymous buyer who paid just over $500,000 at auction to own a piece of history.
NASA Has Long Maintained
That the lunar rocks and dust collected during the Apollo missions are government property that’s not allowed to be owned by private citizens.
The Space Agency Has Gone
Great lengths to recover any stray lunar materials, including a sting operation in 2011 that seized—from a 74-year-old woman—a rice-size moon rock embedded in a paperweight.