NASA accidentally sold a priceless Apollo 11 artifact, and now the agency faces a legal battle to get it back. The bag was used to collect moon samples in 1969 and was sold last year to Nancy Carlson from Illinois for $995 mistakenly due to a clerical error.
NASA realized the huge mistake when Ms Carlson sent back the bag for authentication and decided to keep it, the space agency is now working with federal prosecutors to reclaim legal ownership of the item, according to NASA, the bag is a;
rare artifact, if not a national treasure
Ms Carlson doesn’t intend to let go easily, she has also launched her own lawsuit against NASA in-order to get the bag back.
In 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were on the surface of the moon for several hours gathering more than 20kg of lunar material to return to Earth. This was Apollo 11, the first mission which successfully landed humans on the moon, the bag itself still has fragments of lunar debris embedded in its material.
Something similar to this happened years back in 2005, a director of a Kansas space center was found guilty of stealing and auctioning space artifacts loaned by NASA. NASA officials, during investigation later found the Apollo 11 lunar bag inside his garage. But in this case it’s hard to tell who wins this case, since the bag was obtained legally as a result of a mistake made by NASA.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.
Established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science, NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System, advancing heliophysics through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate’s Heliophysics Research Program, exploring bodies throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic spacecraft missions such as New Horizons, and researching astrophysics topics, such as the Big Bang, through the Great Observatories and associated programs.