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Apollo 11 lunar sample bag lands at center of lawsuits
[i]A small white bag that was once used by Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong to hold the first-ever lunar samples to be collected from the surface of the moon is now at the center of not one, but two lawsuits over who owns it today.
The zippered cloth pouch, which was labeled in bold black letters "Lunar Sample Return," was used on July 20, 1969 as the "outer decontamination bag" to hold the moon rocks for their trip back to Earth with Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.
Under normal circumstances, one might expect that a bag of such extraordinary significance would be on display in a museum today. Instead, it is evidence in separate lawsuits filed by an Illinois woman who bought the historic bag at a government auction and by the United States Attorney for the District of Kansas, who is seeking to return the artifact to NASA.
"The lunar [sample return] bag... is a rare artifact, if not a national treasure," Thomas Beall, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas, and Annette Gurney, Assistant U.S. Attorney, wrote in a court filing.[/i]
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