Apollo 11 Moon Mission: Rare Lunar Artifact ‘Space Bag’ Mistakenly Sold By US Government

First Posted: Aug 08, 2016 06:19 AM EDT

It's been almost 50 years that the first manned Apollo 11 moon mission spacecraft landed on the moon in 1969. A small white bag, which was carried to the moon by astronauts on aboard the historic Apollo 11 spacecraft and was used to collect the first sample of lunar material, is currently the main focus of a legal fight.

According to The CSMonitor, the government mistakenly sold the bag in question at an auction event in 2015. The bag was collected in a criminal investigation against founder and former director of the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, Max Ary. Ary was convicted for stealing and selling museum artifacts in November 2005. The lunar bag was found in a box in Ary's garage during an official search conducted in 2003.

After almost ten years, the same historic bag was mistakenly sold to Nancy Carlson, in Illinois, for $995 at a government auction on February 15, 2015. It was after Carlson sent the bag to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for authentication at the Johnson Space Center in Houston that the space agency learned that the Apollo 11 bag had been sold without notice or permission. Since then NASA has withheld the artifact. Carlson has filed a lawsuit against the space agency in an Illinois federal court in June to get the bag's possession.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney's Office asked a federal judge, who handled the criminal case of Ary, to set aside rescind sale and return back the money to Carlson claiming that NASA wasn't notified about the sale as the bag was wrongfully identified, reported Tech Times. The officials explained that the confusion happened after two lunar bags were confused as one and were assigned the same identification number. The other bag was a sample from the Apollo 17 lunar mission, which was launched in 1972. Ary auctioned the 1972 sample bag for $24,150 back in 2001. The same was later recovered by investigators.

What do you think should be the federal judge's decision? Let us know in the comments below.

See Now: NASA's Juno Spacecraft's Rendezvous With Jupiter's Mammoth Cyclone

©2017 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission. The window to the world of science news.

Join the Conversation

Real Time Analytics