Friday, 21 July 2017

Neil Armstrong's moon dust bag sells for $1.8m at auction

The bag Neil Armstrong used to bring moon dust back to Earth has sold for $1.8m (£1.38m) at an auction in New York.
Just a simple white pouch with a zip, it was bought for $995 two years ago before its historical importance was fully realised.

The bag languished for years in a box at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston before disappearing for decades.

It was then found in the garage of a Kansas museum manager who was convicted of theft in 2014.

The US Marshals Service seized the bag and put it up for auction three times, but there were no bids.

Photo taken of Buzz Aldrin by Neil Armstrong on Apollo 11 mission. Sotheby's
Armstrong's photo of Buzz Aldrin was also up for sale

Finally, in 2015 it was bought by attorney Nancy Lee Carlson who sent it to NASA for authentication.

Tests revealed the bag belonged to Neil Armstrong and still contained traces of moon dust, so the space agency decided to keep it.

Ms Carlson successfully sued to get it back and the case generated a lot of interest from potential buyers, leading her to put it up for auction again.

Apollo 11 flight plan sold at auction pic: sotheby's
The Apollo 13 flight plan

The bag's new owner could remain a mystery however, because it was snapped up by an anonymous telephone bidder.

They may even have got a bargain as it was expected to sell for between $2m and $4m.

The Sotheby's auction marked the 48th anniversary of the first moon landing.

Other space memorabilia was also up for grabs, including Neil Armstrong's famous snap of Buzz Aldrin, which went for $35,000.

Aldrin tweeted on Thursday to explain that the photo wasn't planned: "When Neil took this pic of me it was very spontaneous. He said "stop right there" & I turned. You can see the motion of the strap #Apollo11."

Meanwhile, the flight plan for the famous Apollo 13 mission, annotated by its crew, sold for $275,000, while a spacesuit worn by astronaut Gus Grissom fetched $43,750.

SKY      News.