Three tiny lunar rocks reported from space by the unmanned Soviet Luna-16 mission were sold for $ 855,000 at auction on Thursday.
The rocks, estimated to be between $ 700,000 and $ 1 million before sale, are the only known and commercially available lunar samples, according to Sotheby's. In 1993, the rocks were sold for $ 442,500 to an anonymous American collector. It was the first time that a piece from another world was being offered to the public.
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Recovered from the lunar surface in 1970, the samples were presented to Nina Ivanova Koroleva, widow of Sergei Pavlovich Korolev, former director of the Soviet Space Program.
The details of the buyer have not been revealed.
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Artifacts related to the Moon are of great interest. Last year, for example, a bag full of moon dust filled by Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong was sold by Sotheby's for $ 1.8 million.
The bag had previously been mistakenly identified and sold by mistake at a government online auction for $ 995. The woman from the Chicago area who bought the bag won an intense court battle with NASA, who attempted to recover the artifact.
Associated Press contributed to this article.
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