The Popcorn Stand: On this deal, woman over the moon

Now this is something that’s worthwhile, unlike those stupid weird-food-could-be-worth-a-lot-for-some-reason stories I’ve been writing about.

This is one small dusting for man, and one giant windfall for mankind. Actually it’s one giant windfall for Nancy Lee Carlson, who bought a small white pouch marked “Lunar Sample Return” for $995. The pouch is expected to sell for as much as $4 million at the Sotheby’s auction on July 20, the 48th anniversary of Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon.

The pouch is worth millions of dollars because it’s sprinkled with moon dust from that first moon landing. Armstrong filled the bag with moon rocks from his historic trip and gave the bag to a Houston lab, which emptied the bag of the rocks and then lost track of it.

Carlson eventually bought the bag and sent it off to NASA for testing. Not surprisingly after it was discovered there was still some moon dust left from the historic mission in the bag, NASA claimed ownership. Carlson, who happens to be an attorney, had to go to court to gain ownership of the bag. So, yes, Carlson was literally asking for the moon.

NASA isn’t thrilled, stating the bag should be on public display. I really don’t understand why NASA is so determined to have a bag with moon dust on display when I’m sure there’s all kinds of artifacts that are on display that are a lot more impressive than a bag with moon dust.

But NASA does have a policy in which it doesn’t allow anyone to own any part of the moon and I guess Carlson now technically owns the tiniest bit of the moon. Then again, if Carlson offered half the Sotheby profits to NASA, the agency might sing a different tune. Still, I’m sure it’s safe to say NASA isn’t feeling over the moon about this whole thing.

And after reading about this when it comes to yard sales and auctions, I’m going to shoot for the moon.

— Charles Whisnand


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