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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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.