NASA stops auction of 3 moondust-fed cockroaches to see if ‘it would kill them’

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NASA launched the lunar mission in 1969. (File)

NASA, the world’s most advanced space agency, asked a Boston-based auction house to stop selling moon dust collected during the agency’s Apollo 11 mission in 1969. It also asked auction house RR Auction to stop selling cockroach carcasses that were fed moon dust to test for toxins. The experiment was conducted to check whether the moon dust contained a substance that posed a danger to terrestrial life. NASA said the material belonged to the United States government. 40 milligrams of moondust and three cockroaches were expected to fetch $400,000.

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The items have been removed from the auction.

The agency, in a letter to the auction house, said all Apollo samples were the property of the federal government and could not be sold, displayed by any individual, or used for any other purpose.

The Apollo 11 mission brought back about 47 pounds of moon rock. Some was given to insects, fish and other animals to see if it would kill them.

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Moon dust-fed cockroaches were studied by Marion Brooks at the University of Minnesota. She told a daily in October 1969 that she had found no evidence of infectious agents. She died in 2007.

The moon rock and cockroaches, however, were never returned to NASA. His daughter sold them in 2010.

RR Auction was selling the items on behalf of an undisclosed owner.

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The auction house has suspended the sale, but the owner and NASA will have to agree to stop the auction permanently.

Reported by TSWT

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