Science | April 9, 2022 2:28 pm

A Selection of Apollo 11 Moon Rocks Are Headed to Auction

One giant leap for lunar dust

Apollo 11
Apollo 11 on the surface of the Moon.
NASA

When you’re looking to buy something at an auction, there’s one general rule of thumb that almost always applies: the object you’re buying originated on the planet Earth. Don’t knock that “almost always,” though — every once in a while something makes it to auction with an origin that is, as the saying goes, out of this world.

That’s exactly what Bonhams will be auctioning off on April 13, 2022 — a selection of lunar dust collected by Neil Armstrong on the Apollo 11 mission.

As a recent article in Atlas Obscura notes, the lunar dust in question has had something of a turbulent history. The vast majority of the lunar dust collected by the Apollo 11 astronauts remains in NASA’s archive, but trace amounts of it in a contingency bag were mislabeled and eventually sold.

The contingency bag sold at auction in 2017 for $1.8 million. As for whether or not the dust that was once within it will sell for more — well, that remains to be seen.

Bonhams estimates that the lunar dust will sell for between $800,000 and $1,200,000. It’s one of several items from the Space Race that’ll be auctioned off; also up for purchase are a map of the Moon signed by a host of Apollo astronauts and a piece of Sputnik-1.