Apollo 11 Lunar Sample Belongs To Buyer, Not NASA

Posted: Dec 17 2016, 1:37am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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Apollo 11 Lunar Sample belongs to Buyer, not NASA
Credit: Gaston & Sheehan Auctioneers via collectSPACE.com

A mistakenly sold bag containing samples from the first manned mission to the moon belongs to the woman who bought it in a sale "conducted according to law", a US District Court judge has ruled.

Nancy Carlson of Inverness, Illinois, obtained the title to the historic artifact as "a good faith purchaser, in a sale conducted according to law," according to the ruling by judge J. Thomas Marten in the US District Court for Kansas, Space.com reported on Friday.

The artifact was purchased by Carlson for $995 in February 2015 at a Texas auction held on behalf of the US Marshals Service.

Refusing to reverse the sale and return the lunar sample bag to NASA, as petitioned by the US government, Marten said that "she (Carlson) is entitled to possession of the bag".

Labeled in bold black letters "Lunar Sample Return," the zippered cloth pouch was used on July 20, 1969, as an "outer decontamination bag" to protect the first moon rocks retrieved from the surface of the moon as they were delivered to Earth by Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, the report said.

The bag had been forfeited along with other artifacts found in the home of Max Ary, a former curator convicted in 2006 of stealing and selling space artifacts that belonged to the Cosmosphere space museum in Hutchinson, Kansas, it added.

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