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Moon Dust Collected by Neil Armstrong during First Lunar Landing to be Auctioned in New York

The dust and some tiny rocks brought back to Earth in an ordinary-looking bag by the late astronaut is the first sample ever collected from Moon

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Moon dust collected by Neil Armstrong
The Apollo 11 Contingency Lunar Sample Return Bag used by astronaut Neil Armstrong, to be offered at auction, is displayed at Sotheby's in New York, July 13, 2017. VOA
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  • A symbol of America’s glory days in space is now valued at $2 million to $4 million at a New York auction house
  • Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, died in 2012 in Ohio
  • It’s one of 180 lots linked to space travel that Sotheby’s is auctioning off July 20 to mark the 48th anniversary of the pioneer lunar landing on that date in 1969

New York, July 14: Moon dust that Neil Armstrong collected during the first lunar landing was displayed Thursday at a New York auction house — a symbol of America’s glory days in space now valued at $2 million to $4 million.

The late astronaut brought the dust and some tiny rocks back to Earth in an ordinary-looking bag.

It’s one of 180 lots linked to space travel that Sotheby’s is auctioning off July 20 to mark the 48th anniversary of the pioneer lunar landing on that date in 1969.

The moon dust is the first sample of Earth’s satellite ever collected.

The bag has had a storied existence, a decades-long trajectory during which it was misidentified and nearly landed in the trash. About two years ago, it appeared in a seized assets auction staged on behalf of the U.S. Marshals Service. The owner, whose name has not been made public, purchased the treasure and sent it to NASA for testing.

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After a legal tussle, a federal judge granted the owner full rights over the curiosity.

Other items on the block are Armstrong’s snapshot of fellow Apollo 11 astronaut “Buzz” Aldrin standing on the moon, with an estimated value of $3,000 to $5,000.

A documented flight plan astronauts used to return to Earth is valued at $25,000 to $35,000.

In a photo valued at $2,000 to $3,000, astronaut Gene Cernan from Apollo 17 is seen rolling around in the lunar rover through a valley on the moon.

Capping the sale is a touch of humor: The Snoopy astronaut doll that was the mascot of the Apollo 10 crew, at an estimated pre-sale price of $2,000 to $3,000.

Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon. He died in 2012 in Ohio.

The first human to venture into outer space was Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, who orbited Earth in a spacecraft in April 1961.

Gagarin’s description of the planet — translated from Russian — is being offered as part of his observations on being in space, at an estimated price of $50,000 to $80,000.

Calling it “a magnificent picture,” he wrote: “The Earth had a very distinct and pretty blue halo. This halo could be clearly seen when looking at the horizon. It had a smooth transition from pale blue to blue, dark blue, violet and absolutely black.” (VOA)

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NASA Plans For Science Payloads For Delivery to Moon

NASA believes that the work it does on the Moon in the coming years would help it send a series of crewed missions to Mars, scheduled to start in the 2030s

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NASA calls for science payloads for delivery to Moon. Pixabay

In line with its plan to conduct more research on the Moon’s surface ahead of a human return, NASA has issued a call for science instruments and technology payloads that will fly on commercial lunar landers as early as next year or 2020.

This call is specifically geared towards small payloads that can be ready for early commercial flights, NASA said in a statement on Thursday, adding that future calls for lunar payloads will occur at regular intervals for later missions, with the next call released in approximately one year.

The initial proposal deadline is November 19, 2018, the US space agency added.

“We are looking for ways to not only conduct lunar science but to also use the Moon as a science platform to look back at the Earth, observe the Sun, or view the vast Universe,” said Steve Clarke, Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA.

“In terms of technology, we are interested in those instruments or systems that will help future missions — both human and robotic — explore the Moon and feed forward to future Mars missions,” Clarke added.

On early missions, science instruments will likely gather data related to heat flow within the Moon’s interior, solar wind and atmosphere as well as dust detection.

NASA
The initial proposal deadline is November 19, 2018, the US space agency added. Flickr

Lander payloads could also conduct technology demonstrations, using the Moon as a technology testbed for Mars.

“The strategy is that these early missions will help us prepare for more complex future missions such as searching for usable resources, building up a seismic network to understand the Moon’s internal structure, and studying the lunar mineralogy and chemistry to understand the Moon’s origins,” Clarke said.

The US space agency is implementing a plan for Americans to orbit the Moon starting in 2023, and land astronauts on the surface no later than the late 2020s.

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A key component of establishing the first permanent American presence and infrastructure on and around the Moon is the Gateway, a lunar orbiting platform to host astronauts farther from Earth than ever before.

NASA believes that the work it does on the Moon in the coming years would help it send a series of crewed missions to Mars, scheduled to start in the 2030s. (IANS)