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Moon NASA Space Science

Moon Dust Back In NASA's Hands 73

Posted by timothy
from the my-precioussss dept.
gabbo529 writes with this excerpt: "It's only a speck but some moon dust from the original Apollo 11 mission is back in NASA's hands. The speck of moon dust was only one-eighth of an inch (3 millimeters) wide and was attached to a transparent piece of tape. To an auction house in St. Louis it was worth between $1,000 and $1,500. However, NASA got wind of the dust and was able to get it back."
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Moon Dust Back In NASA's Hands

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  • About nothing..

  • $1000? (Score:1, Funny)

    by Darth Hamsy (1432187)
    How much is that in Bitcoins?
    • by stonedcat (80201)

      At the current exchange rate, you'd end up paying them to take it. :p

  • by whiteboy86 (1930018) on Saturday June 25, 2011 @09:33AM (#36567434)
    1 gram of Moonstone is worth $1000 ?! So... 1 kg is therefore worth $1M ??!!! How expensive is a space rocket and other things needed for aggresive Moon mining ?
    /s
    • by Arlet (29997)

      Gold is almost $50 per gram, and I'm willing to bet that it's more than a factor of 20 cheaper to mine gold on earth, than it is to retrieve rocks from the moon.

      Also, the market for moon rocks is fairly small, so the price will drop quickly if you get too much of it.

    • by mblase (200735)

      1 gram of Moonstone is worth $1000 ?! So... 1 kg is therefore worth $1M ??!!! How expensive is a space rocket and other things needed for aggresive Moon mining ? /s

      A moon rocket is so expensive that only one country in the history of the world has ever built them, and they stopped after a few years when they realized no one was racing them anymore.

      • by Arlet (29997)

        Actually, the Russians built several (unmanned) moon landers that have brought small amounts of samples back to earth.

      • by cameloid (120654)

        And India, China and Japan.

        They all want a piece of it.

      • by Dunbal (464142) *

        A moon rocket is so expensive that only one country in the history of the world has ever built them, and they stopped after a few years when they realized no one was racing them anymore.

        Except the hare decided to take a nap under the tree, because he was so far ahead of that slow tortoise anyway...

        Who said the race was over? America != the whole world. In fact it's a tiny fraction of the world's population. And the whole world is catching up. Both India and China have their sights set on the moon. Of course the typical response from the American hare is "so, they're just duplicating what we did 50 years ago". Mmmhm. But in today's economy, paying today's prices for pretty much everything

        • Infrastructure that in the US has collapsed thanks to greed on the part of executives, mergers and, well, greed again on the part of stockholders.

          I highly disagree with this statement. The only part that is true at all is the word greed, but not when it applies to stockholders. Try applying the word "greed" to farmers, welfare moms, ethanol producers, algae for energy researchers, medicaid recipients, and everyone else with a hand out taking a government subsidy, and then you will be getting close. A natio

    • by cyn1c77 (928549)

      1 gram of Moonstone is worth $1000 ?! So... 1 kg is therefore worth $1M ??!!! How expensive is a space rocket and other things needed for aggresive Moon mining ? /s

      You need to spend some time reading the space technology news.

      It turns out that getting into space is quite expensive. And getting stuff back from space is too.

      In 2003, Russia was charging ~$20M for a person to stay on the ISS for 10 days. Getting back to the moon would involve redeveloping the technology and traveling further. So it might cost around $100M, but it would take billions of dollars to develop and proof the technology.

      Also, once you brought back a ton of moon rocks to sell on the open

      • by Teancum (67324)

        Also, once you brought back a ton of moon rocks to sell on the open market, their price would plummet due to availability. So traveling to the moon solely to sell moon rocks is not really a profitable venture.

        If you want to look at what a more "mature" market for extra-terrestrial minerals might be, try looking up the prices for people who are selling meteor samples. I'm not going to provide links because you can use your favorite search engine to find them.

        Still, I've seen prices at roughly $1000/kg for random meteor samples, and for samples that seem to have a high likelihood of coming from Mars or the Moon the price is much higher. Yes, it is possible to have a piece of moon rock even now. A seven gram sam

      • by rew (6140)

        People are underestimating the (relative) difficulty of the different steps in "space travel".

        A good measure of difficulty is the energy required to get there. To go up to "the edge of space" at 100km high you just need g.h per kg of of payload in energy. That comes to about 1MJ/kg.

        To get into low earth orbit at 200km high, you need g.h for the height, but also 1/2 v^2 for the kinetic energy. This comes to 2MJ/kg + 28MJ/kg = 30MJ/kg. It is about 30 times as difficult to get into low earth orbit than to get

    • There's a Bitcoins joke in here somewhere...
  • Those NASA scientists are getting high on. Talk about going to extreme measures to protect their stash.
  • There are no offenses and selling the speck would not have been illegal. Still, NASA wanted it back, since it is the space agency's possession. It was acquired by Regency-Superior from a woman who inherited from her late husband. Her late husband had acquired it in good faith.

    So even if you acquire in good faith some legally distributed moon dust, it is still NASA's possession? Does this make any sense to anyone? It's almost like they're trying to prevent unauthorized research. ALL THE TOYS ARE MINE. It's like shaking a ditch digger down for some dirt that fell in to his cuffs while he was installing your sewage line.

    • You can't own stolen goods, at least in my state, since the owner who it was stolen from still is the legal owner.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        And yet the article itself, which you apparently did not read (shocker!) or perhaps did not understand (shocker pt. 2!) explicitly says that it would not be illegal to resell the scrap of rock in question. Therefore it is not stolen. Therefore you can own it, right? Well, apparently not.

        • by xkuehn (2202854)

          Well, I DID RTFA.

          Her husband acquired it in good faith; which only means that he got it from someone or somewhere and did not believe it to be stolen.

          However, NASA owns it and it she therefore did not have the RIGHT to sell it, even if it would not have been a CRIMINAL OFFENSE for her to do so. Unless she knew that she doesn't own it, which she does now.

        • Car analogy (Score:4, Insightful)

          by mangu (126918) on Saturday June 25, 2011 @10:46AM (#36567986)

          it would not be illegal to resell the scrap of rock in question. Therefore it is not stolen

          Just like if I buy a stolen Porsche at the local chop shop it becomes mine and I can sell it?

          It is not a crime to resell something you bought in good faith, but that does not mean it becomes the legal property of the buyer. It still belongs to the original owner and it's up to those who bought it in good faith to try to recover from the thief whatever they paid for it.

        • by will_die (586523)
          Bad writing of an article. The dust was stolen in 1969, so selling it would be illegal. However because of various reason the federal government will not be pressing charges, so no illegal act was charged. It would also be hard to prove that the sellers were knowingly selling a stolen item.
          • by Teancum (67324)

            The funny thing is that the suits were taken in to get cleaned, where presumably had the sample not been collected with tape the dust itself would have simply been flushed down into the sewer. In a manner of speaking, these guys did a huge service to mankind simply by collecting the sample in this manner and perhaps should have been thanked instead of treated like criminals.

            For some of the later Apollo missions, the suits were not cleaned and therefore the dust is still on the suit fabric, so it is still p

        • It apparently wasn't sold by NASA, so it was stolen, in a way, even if it probably only involved sneaking out the duct tape to which the dust was attached.
          Case closed.

          And no, I didn't read the article. Are you new to slashdot?

    • by mark-t (151149)

      So even if you acquire in good faith some legally distributed moon dust, it is still NASA's possession?

      It is possible to buy stolen goods without realizing they are stolen, and thus acquire them in good faith (and thus not a crime), but the goods are still the property of whoever they were stolen from, and they have full legal entitlement to its return.

      This is true even if the property is accidentally lost or misplaced by the owner - and the discoverer may not have any way of knowing who or where the p

    • by Locutus (9039)
      the problem is that NASA does not want anyone triggering the growth of their own black monoliths since learning that they only grow from moon dust.

      LoB
    • Having actually gone into the clean rooms and vault where the lunar samples are kept at Johnson Space Center, I can attest to the fact that they take great care in preserving every single speck of lunar material they can, so yes, this does make sense. When lunar samples are sent to scientists for study, the scientists agree to return all parts of the sample that are not destroyed in the course of their research, including dust, fragments, or any other matter that they can collect. All of those are individua

    • by Teancum (67324)

      Technically the person who collected this sample did not have "authorization" for the collection by NASA in the first place.

      BTW, there are some meteors that have a high confidence of having come from the Moon, particularly when their mineral composition is compared with the Apollo samples. For stuff of that nature, your legal claim to the "Moon dust" is more more secure.

      Sadly, if you dig a hole in your backyard, depending on where you live, you may not be able to claim the minerals that you find in that ho

  • by Dunbal (464142) *
    This is the dust that NASA originally said wasn't moon dust/moon rocks in the first place, right? I'm having a hard time keeping up with all the lies nowadays.
  • Is that big enough to put a portal on?
  • Just saying.

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