Illegal moon dust auction

Interested in bidding on 31.2 milligrams of moon dust? Not on eBay. And not at Bonhams, either.

The Economist reports that a sample of moon dust (labeled "Lot 195") has been withdrawn from Bonhams auction in London this week due to a "legislative wrinkle" the anonymous seller appeared to have overlooked.

The dust, as space law professor Art Dula explained, rightly belongs to the US government.

Apparently, the mysterious seller worked as a technician at a lab where the moon dust sample had been kept.

According to the report, the "sale was halted after The Economist called Bonhams to inquire about this legislative wrinkle. On Tuesday afternoon a spokeswoman for Bonhams said the firm was working with the vendor and the American embassy to 'clarify the title' of lot 195. The embassy and NASA declined to comment, although the agency is investigating the matter."

A minor international incident involving an estimated $540-715 of moon dust that US taxpayers shelled out &25 billion to collect? Priceless.

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