NASA Apollo 11 Moon Lunar Soil

Photo credit: Joe Gutheinz, courtesy of Christopher McHugh
Nancy Lee Carlson from Inverness, Illinois has filed a new lawsuit accusing NASA of damaging a sample bag taken on the historic first manned moon mission in 1969 and illegally taking particles of moon dust. She first purchased the item in 2015 for $995 and later sold it in 2017 for $1.8 million, in which during that two-year period, Carlson and NASA were engaged in a protracted legal battle over its ownership, which she eventually won. “The bag contained lunar samples, including some lunar dust enmeshed in the bag fibers when the Apollo 11 mission returned to Earth,” the suit says. Read more for a video about building a lunar base out of moon dust and additional information about the case.



Carlson bought the bag after seeing it listed on an online government auction website in February 2015, and afterwards contacted NASA to see if they could authenticate it as having flown on Apollo 11 and whether it contained lunar samples. The agency agreed, and in March 2016, NASA found that the bag was authentic and that lunar soil was “enmeshed in the fabric of the bag.”

“But after making that judgment NASA, for the first time according to the suit, claimed ownership of the bag. The agency refused to return it to Carlson. NASA contended that the item had been mistakenly put up for auction and that it rightfully belonged to the people of the United States,” reports Pantagraph.