NASA returns moon dust after losing custody battle

Artifacts from the moon are generally the property of NASA, and, barring relatively few exceptions, private citizens don't own any – at least legally.

In recent days and as a result of a court ruling, a woman in Illinois became an exception to that standard.

See also: Bag a bargain on NASA's virtual car boot sale

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Would you stay in bed for ten weeks for £7,000?

On 24 February a Texas judge declared that NASA must return a moon dust laden sample bag from the Apollo 11 mission to Nancy Lee Carlson.

Carlson purchased the bag from a government auction in 2015 and soon after she sent it to NASA for authentication.

Not only did NASA employees determine that the bag was real but they also found out that it was sold by mistake.

The agency then decided not to return the object to Carlson.

US lawyers offered Carslon the $995 (£811) she had paid for the bag - but, as a lifetime space enthusiast, she declined.

NASA is encouraging her to put the bag on public display but what she intends to do with it is as yet unknown.

10 incredible auctions
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10 incredible auctions

The most expensive watch ever sold at auction fetched just under $24 million in November 2014. The gold pocket watch was made by Patek Philippe, and is the most complex ever made without the use of computer technology.

The Henry Graves Supercomplication was commissioned in 1925, and took eight years to make.

The world's most expensive stamp sold at auction in 2014 for over $9 million.

The British Guiana One-Cent Magenta is as rare as a stamp can get. British Guiana was one of the first countries in the New World to start issuing stamps, but in 1856, they ran out, and asked the local newspaper printer to produce extras.

There were two denominations: the four-cent, which is very rare, and the one-cent - of which only one has ever been discovered.

In May 2015, an anonymous London businesswoman snapped up the licence plate KR15 HNA for £233,000, making it the most expensive standard number plate ever to be sold in the UK.

Queen Victoria's bloomers sold at auction for £6,200, along with a pair of her silk stockings.

They have a 52-inch waist, and belonged to the monarch in the 1890s - "towards the end of her life when she had eaten a lot more than most people could afford to," said auctioneer Michael Hogben. In today's sizing, they'd be a size 26.

In 2014, a three-year-old slice of cake sold at auction for $7,500 (£4,800). The reason the stale cake was in such demand was that it was from the marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton in 2011.

The buyer said he intended to give it away as part of promoting his Silicon Valley start-up.

A British coin sold at auction for a record-breaking £430,000 in 2014. After fees, the buyer paid £516,000 - making it the most expensive modern British coin ever to be sold.

The coin is only one of two in existence. It was a 'proof' for a gold sovereign which was meant to be produced to commemorate the coronation of Edward VIII in 1937. However, Edward abdicated in 1936, so the coronation never happened and the coins were never made


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