Stolen Moon Dust Found Up for Auction

Tape with a few flecks of dust was valued at $1K or more
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2011 1:44 PM CDT
Stolen Moon Dust Found Up for Auction
A picture shows the moon during a total lunar eclipse in the Egyptian capital Cairo on June 15, 2011.   (Getty Images)

Investigators from NASA and the US attorney's office in St. Louis have found what could be the government’s tiniest piece of stolen property: a bit of moon dust. The item was up for sale at a local auction house, with a value estimated at $1,000 to $1,500, Time reports. “It’s a speck—the size of a fingertip,” says an auction house official. “But it’s lunar material, and since we’re not going back to the moon in my lifetime or yours, that makes it worth a lot to some people.”

The dust, which, as the story goes, was lifted from the moon via a film cartridge used during the Apollo 11 mission, famously went missing some 40 years ago. The dust had been removed from the cartridge using a one-inch piece tape, which worked its way onto the black market and was reportedly sold to a German collector who cut it into tiny slivers to sell individually. The widow auctioning her sliver off in St. Louis says she has no idea where her late husband got it from, and agreed to hand it over as soon as authorities contacted her. (Read more moon stories.)

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