Who would have thought that after almost 50 years there will still be a dispute over a bag that Apollo 11 used for lunar samples? Well, the government sold that bag, by mistake, during the criminal case against the former director of the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center.
It seems that the white bag, used in June 1969, has a lunar material and it is considered a national treasure, as the authorities said. Max Ary, the founder of the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, was caught stealing museum artifacts in 2005. Some of those space objects were found, including this lunar bag, as Ary kept it in his garage.
Apollo 11 was the first spaceflight that landed humans on the moon. They spent about two hours outside, while they collected lunar samples for NASA. There was three men in the crew: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins. The Command Module is displayed at the National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C. Many people still don’t believe the landing was real as, at that time, the mission seemed impossible.
In 2015 this bag used for lunar samples was sold, at a government action, to Nancy Carlson, in Illinois. NASA found out about this situation only after it had been sold when the buyer sent it to them for authentication. Federal prosecutors think that the most efficient way to handle things would be that the federal judge to rescind the sale. This way, NASA would get their bag used for lunar samples while Nancy Carlson would get her money back.
Many people wondered how the government could sell the bag without checking it first. It seems that two lunar bags were confused as one because they had the same identification numbers. The second bag was from Apollo 17 and recovered by the authorities during Ary’s investigation.
Max Ary was sentenced to three years in prison and he has already been released. Moreover, he had always said that he is innocent and that he mixed by accident the artifacts with the ones he was collecting privately. What do you think? Was it really a mistake or Ary is guilty?Who is to blame in this situation: NASA, Max Ary or the government?
Image source: Flickr.com