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Raumfahrt - Moon rocks: What to do if you think you have a lunar souvenir collected by Apollo astronauts

25.11.2021

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So can you legally own a piece of the moon?

Yes, just not Apollo moon rocks.

There are four sources of lunar material on Earth:

  • Lunar meteorites, about 500 pounds in total
  • Lunar samples brought back by Apollo astronauts, 842 pounds in total.
  • Samples brought back by unmanned Soviet missions in the '70s, less than 1 pound.
  • An unmanned Chinese mission in 2020 brought back 3.81 pounds.

Jewelry featuring moon dust from lunar meteorites is available for purchase, but the International Meteorite Collections Association warns that fakes abound.

A tiny sample of the Soviet lunar soil has sold twice at auction, most recently in 2018 for $855,000. Sotheby's auction house said the buyer was a "private American collector."

The sample, which weighs just about as much as raindrop, was initially presented to the widow of Sergei Korolev, the "Chief Designer" of the Soviet Union's space program. It was first auctioned by Sotheby's in 1993 for $442,500. The buyer then was a different American collector.

It remains the only lunar sample — other than from meteorites — legally in private hands.

What should you do if you think you have a moon rock?

The folks at collectSPACE.com have helped people identify what they thought were moon rocks over the years.

 

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