Neil Armstrong's bag of lunar dust to be sold at auction


"Their lunar sample curator tested it and found that it was not only a lunar material but in fact dust from the Apollo 11 mission and then further research showed that the bag was, in fact, the bag that Neil Armstrong used to bring back that very first sample on Apollo 11". Made of the same fire-retardant material as space suits it's expected to sell for anywhere from $2-million to $4-million dollars.

Eat your heart out George Lucas, this handsome fella doesn't need a lesson in Ewokese!

It's not likely anyone will pay almost that much for the lunar dust that will be sold at Sotheby's during an auction of space artifacts on July 20 - the 48th anniversary of the first moon landing. Americans were the first ones to set foot on the moon.

"Still containing remnants of lunar dust, this seemingly modest bag has undergone an incredible journey from the Earth to the moon and back, and to us here 48 years later".

The moon dust is undoubtedly the star of the sale - the first sample of Earth's satellite ever collected. Though this object is coming to the block from private ownership, almost all other accessories from the American space missions are housed in the U.S. National Collections at the Smithsonian.

Lunar module pilot Fred Haise, who took part in the Apollo 13 mission in 1970, attended the reception for the sale and gave remarks on his own time in space.

Space artifacts have that kind of effect on people, and the auction house is counting on a big pay day when the sample bag and the 172 other items being auctioned along with it go under the hammer. Perhaps this explains how the auction house amassed 173 stellar lots on the theme (quite substantial, especially for a summer sale), including a color photograph of Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon, shot by Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 mission.

Carlson successfully sued NASA to get the bag back, and the attention created by her legal challenge prompted many inquiries from potential buyers, according to Sotheby's. A photo of Buzz Aldrin taken by Armstrong is estimated at $3,000 to $5,000, while the astronauts' detailed flight plan for their return to Earth is valued at $25,000 to $35,000.

A Snoopy astronaut doll that was used as the mascot for Apollo 10 is also now estimated pre-sale at $2,000 to $3,000.

Of course, the first man in space was a Russian and that country's major contribution to space exploration is also acknowledged.