Earlier this week, the famed auction house Sotheby’s announced the sale of a seemingly unassuming white pouch. In fact, this is considered a space exploration artifact as it was reportedly used by Neil Armstrong to collect lunar material such as rocks and dust.
The Auction for the White Pouch Will Take Place in July
Sotheby’s offered some details about how this piece of space history will come to be sold, and why it never actually went on display in a museum. Most of the parts involved in the historic lunar landing are either on display or in storage as part of a museum collection. But a mistake sent the white pouch for sale at a small auction house. After failing to attract attention several times, it was then acquired by its current owner.
— Sotheby’s (@Sothebys) May 21, 2017
Nancy Carlson, its present possessor, purchased it for $995, back in 2015. She found dust in the pouch and was also interested in finding out more about its history. So she decided to send it to NASA for an analysis and further details. The scientists then determined that this was, in fact, moon dust left over from its role in Apollo 11 mission
Sotheby’s states that Neil Armstrong collected almost 500 grams of lunar material, “finer than 1 cm”. He also gathered 12 rock fragments, bigger than 1 cm, from a number of different location situated in the area called “the Sea of Tranquility”.
“Given the then unknown nature of lunar material, this decontamination bag was used to minimize any potential harm the samples might pose to the Command Module and planet Earth.”
Its serial number attests that this white pouch is the respective decontamination bag and also confirms its role in this historic event.
A judge ruling from back in December states that the white pouch legally belongs to Nancy Carlson, who will now be selling it as part of the Sotheby’s “Space Exploration” auction.
This will be taking place on July 20, during the lunar mission’s anniversary, and will include several other space memorabilia. The pouch is expected to sell for anything in between $2 million to $4 million.
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