NASA Wants Its Moon Dust And Cockroaches Back -- Now!

6/24/2022 12:39:00 AM

The space agency wants to halt the sale of moon dust collected in1969 that was later fed to cockroaches to determine if the lunar rock posed a threat to terrestrial life.

Apollo 11, Brooks

The space agency wants to halt the sale of moon dust collected in1969 that was later fed to cockroaches to see determine if the lunar rock posed a threat to terrestrial life.

The space agency wants to halt the sale of moon dust collected in1969 that was later fed to cockroaches to determine if the lunar rock posed a threat to terrestrial life.

Jun 23, 2022, 05:21 PM EDTSAVEBOSTON (AP) — NASA wants its moon dust and cockroaches back.The space agency has asked Boston-based RR Auction to halt the sale of moon dust collected during the 1969 Apollo 11 mission that had subsequently been fed to cockroaches during an experiment to determine if the lunar rock contained any sort of pathogen that posed a threat to terrestrial life.

The material, a NASA lawyer said in a letter to the auctioneer, still belongs to the federal government.AdvertisementThe material from the experiment, including a vial with about 40 milligrams of moon dust and three cockroach carcasses, was expected to sell for at least $400,000, but has been pulled from the auction block, RR said Thursday.

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Mark Pratt Jun 23, 2022, 05:21 PM EDT SAVE BOSTON (AP) — NASA wants its moon dust and cockroaches back.experiments developed by students .Follow Us..

The space agency has asked Boston-based RR Auction to halt the sale of moon dust collected during the 1969 Apollo 11 mission that had subsequently been fed to cockroaches during an experiment to determine if the lunar rock contained any sort of pathogen that posed a threat to terrestrial life. The material, a NASA lawyer said in a letter to the auctioneer, still belongs to the federal government.m. Advertisement The material from the experiment, including a vial with about 40 milligrams of moon dust and three cockroach carcasses, was expected to sell for at least $400,000, but has been pulled from the auction block, RR said Thursday. “All Apollo samples, as stipulated in this collection of items, belong to NASA and no person, university, or other entity has ever been given permission to keep them after analysis, destruction, or other use for any purpose, especially for sale or individual display,” said NASA’s letter dated June 15.m. It went on: “We are requesting that you no longer facilitate the sale of any and all items containing the Apollo 11 Lunar Soil Experiment (the cockroaches, slides, and post-destructive testing specimen) by immediately stopping the bidding process,” NASA wrote.

In another letter dated June 22, NASA’s lawyer asked RR Auction to work with the current owner of the material to return it to the federal government. Unlike many of the recent rocket launches at Wallops, this one will not be visible across as wide of a region of the eastern United States. Advertisement The Apollo 11 mission brought more than 47 pounds (21.3 kilograms) of lunar rock back to Earth. So, if you are vacationing down in eastern Virginia, eastern Maryland or southern Delaware, or live in those areas, you have a shot at catching a glimpse of the rocket as it blasts off into the atmosphere. Some was fed to insects, fish and other small creatures to see if it would kill them. The cockroaches that were fed moon dust were brought to the University of Minnesota where entomologist Marion Brooks dissected and studied them. The live coverage is expected to begin 20 minutes before the launch.

“I found no evidence of infectious agents,” Brooks, who died in 2007, told the Minneapolis Tribune for an October 1969 story. She found no evidence that the moon material was toxic or caused any other ill effects in the insects, according to the article. These are the best viewing locations for this launch, according to the space agency. But the moon rock and the cockroaches were never returned to NASA, instead displayed at Brooks’ home. Her daughter sold them in 2010, and now they are up for sale again by a consignor who RR did not disclose. It’s not unusual for a third party to lay claim to something that is being auctioned, said Mark Zaid, an attorney for RR Auction.

Advertisement “NASA has a track record of pursuing items related to the early space programs,” although they have been inconsistent in doing so, Zaid said. By its own admission, NASA acknowledged in one of its letters that it did not know about the previous auction of the cockroach experiment items. “We have worked with NASA before and have always cooperated with the U.S. government when they lay claims to items,” Zaid said.

“At the end of the day, we want to act appropriately and lawfully.” RR Auction is holding on to the lot for now, but ultimately, it’s up to the consignor to work something out with NASA, he said. NASA's Space Tourism Posters See Gallery .