NASA Will Auction Astronaut Gear Dirtied With Moon Dust
NASA has announced its decision to auction off artifacts and memorabilia that were used in missions to the Moon. From April 14 to 19 in New York City, NASA will showcase items like shoulder straps embedded with dust from the Moon, which belonged to astronauts Alan Bean and Charles Conrad of the Apollo 12 mission.
The combination of the lunar dust on the strap and the mission it was involved in has many believing that it will sell from $25,000 to $35,000.
Another item that will appear in the auction is the sight ring that was used by James Irwin of Apollo 15. The price of the ring will range from $20,000 to $30,000.
"It was used in the module when it landed on the moon and also on takeoff," space history specialist Cassandra Hatton told the Associated Press. "It's extremely rare, probably the only one in private hands."
The auction will also include the checklist sheet with astronaut Buzz Aldrin's notes. The checklist was Neil Armstrong and Aldrin's guide to getting back to Earth. Buyers will be able to bid for Mercury-era spacesuits that were used for the Mercury space program. The suits were never utilized in space but because of their authenticity, they are still expected to sell for $8,000 to $12,000.
"The sale really covers from the early days of space exploration all the way through ASTP (Apollo-Soyuz Test Project) which is kind of a symbolic end of the space race. So we start with telescopes, before we though [sic] we could even possibly go up to the moon. We've got some globes and then we go into the Mercury program, Gemini program," said Cassandra Halton, Bonham's space history specialist, to the Associated Press.
Although there will be items embedded with moon dust, there won't be any actual moon dust, or moon rocks for that matter, for sale. The best bet would be to purchase the items that the astronauts used and enjoy the sight of the dust painting the gear.
"On the surface of the moon we don't have water, so the dust is very sharp and angular, So what would happen is that the astronauts would go out on the surface, do their activities and the dust would stick all over their suits. And then they'd go back into the lunar module and touch things, they'd strap things down and that dust would stick," said Hatton.