Items up for Bid from Astronaut Neil Armstrong Could go for Millions

Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong right trudges across the surface of the moon leaving behind footprints. Moon dust collected by Armstrong during the first lunar landing is being sold at a New York auction

The pouch, which is about the size of an iPad case, still contains traces of moon dust and small rocks-and is expected to fetch between $2 and 4 million on the block next week.

In this July 20, 1969 file photo, Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong, right, trudges across the surface of the moon leaving behind footprints. The samples were the first ever collected from the moon.

Though auction houses regularly boast exceptional pieces, rarely do their offerings go beyond the earthly realm. The estimate is a sobering $2 million-$4 million (€1.75 million to $3.5 million). Cassandra Hatton, the specialist for the sale, said: "This seemingly modest bag was part of mankind's greatest journey, and played a crucial role in the single most important scientific task of the Apollo 11 mission - to bring back the very first sample of lunar material ever collected. Their lunar sample curator tested it and found that it was not only a lunar material but in fact dust from the Apollo 11 mission and then further research showed that the bag was, in fact, the bag that Neil Armstrong used to bring back that very first sample on Apollo 11". Virtually everything from that historic mission is held by the Smithsonian, but a recent court ruling allowed this bag to be the only privately held artifact, says Sotheby's. Some of the space merch on offer is, at least by cosmic standards, relatively commonplace stuff: the familiar photo of Buzz Aldrin standing on the Sea of Tranquility, but signed by Buzz himself; a patch from Apollo 11, but one that was actually carried on the spacecraft to the moon and back.

Sotheby's, which will auction the goods on Thursday, said the original goal of the bag was only discovered two years ago, when its current owner bought it as part of an auction of assets seized by the U.S. Marshall's Service.

"She sent it to NASA".

There are other items from the Apollo 11 mission open for bidding as well. Also being sold is a documented flight plan astronauts used to return to Earth. In April 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was the first human to visit outer space, in a spacecraft that orbited Earth.

The Space Exploration auction will be held on Thursday, July 20 in Sotheby's NY where 180 space exploration items will be auctioned off. The English-translated governmental report on his descriptions of Earth based on his experience has an estimated value of $50,000 to $80,000.

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