Products were collected on the Apollo 11 mission, the first time Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon
NASA wants the return of lunar soil samples and cockroaches collected during the Apollo 11 mission.
On June 15, the agency sent a letter to RR Auction, a company involved in the sale of various objects from space missions, demanding that the auction be halted.
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The company announced on Thursday that the sale of the soil and cockroaches, also known as regolith, had been canceled.
The soil collected during Neil Armstrong’s first moon landing was fed to cockroaches for an experiment years ago.
At the end of the 1969 mission, scientists examined the astronauts returning to Earth and all the objects they brought with them in a quarantine facility.
During the 21-day quarantine, the astronauts were subjected to medical examinations and the regolith particles were exposed to cockroaches.
The purpose of the experiment was to see how the animals would react to contact with and ingest the lunar dust.
After the quarantine period ended, NASA hired entomologist Marion Brooks of the University of St. Paul to further study the cockroaches that had ingested the lunar dust.
Brooks found no ill effects in these animals. The lunar dust ingested by the cockroaches was removed from their intestines and placed in a small glass vial.
However, these products were never returned to NASA, but were instead displayed in Brooks’ home. Brooks’ daughter sold the soil and insects in 2010.
RR Auction announced the auction of the items last month.
The company, which predicted that the sale would reach 400 thousand dollars, was blocked by NASA. The space agency said the products belonged to them and could not be used without permission.
In another letter sent on June 22, NASA asked RR Auction to cooperate with the current owner for the return of the products.