Apollo 11

Particles of Apollo 11 Moon Dust Collected by Neil Armstrong for Sale at Auction

The auction item, which includes five samples of lunar dust, is a rare piece of space history and could be worth up to $1.2 million

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin
NASA via Getty Images

Samples of moon dust collected by Neil Armstrong during the historic Apollo 11 mission in 1969 will go up for auction Wednesday in New York City.

The auction item, which includes five samples of lunar dust, is a rare piece of space history and could be worth up to $1.2 million, according to Bonhams, the auction house handling the sale. The dust samples had a wild and controversial journey to sale and will be the only known samples of lunar dust sold legally after being authenticated by NASA.

"There's never been a verified Apollo lunar sample offered at auction, so we're just so pleased and honored to offer this," said Adam Stackhouse, a specialist at Bonhams who is overseeing its Space History sale.

Apollo 11 moon dust
Bonhams
Five Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) aluminum sample stubs, each topped with approximately 10 mm diameter carbon tape, contain Apollo 11 Moon dust, Bonham says.

The particles for sale can be found in a blue plastic container on five aluminum disks, each topped with a small piece of carbon tape that was used to retrieve moon dust from a collection bag. On July 21, 1969, after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the moon, Armstrong gathered a small "contingency sample" of lunar dust before carrying out the rest of his planned activities on the lunar surface, according to NASA protocols. The idea was that if the mission needed to be cut short for any reason, Armstrong and Aldrin would be able to return to Earth with the contingency sample in tow.

Read the full story on NBCNews.com here

Collins was the command module pilot for the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.
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