NASA wants to bring back dead cockroaches

NASA representatives appealed to the organizers of the RR Auction with a demand to stop the sale of samples of lunar rocks and cockroach corpses fed by them. They insist that their owner is the US government.

Cockroaches that NASA wants to return. Source: Lawrence McGlynn/RR Auction photo via AP

NASA wants to return the materials of the Apollo 11 mission

NASA lawyers addressed the organizers of the Boston RR Auction with a letter in which they outlined the requirements to return this state organization to its property. The property is represented by a container with about 40 milligrams of dust, several dried cockroaches and some other materials. All of them are related to the month-long Apollo 11 mission.

Earlier, the organizers tried to put these items up for auction and get up to 400 thousand dollars for them. However, now all of them have disappeared from the list of lots. According to the responsible persons from RR Auction, they have repeatedly dealt with the US government and always listen to their fair demands.

Cockroaches are quite directly related to the first samples obtained on the Moon. They, as well as fish and other animals, were fed them, checking for possible toxicity. The soil turned out to be safe. The subjects died of natural causes later.

Samples of lunar dust under a microscope. Source:

Who owns the dead cockroaches?

In 1969, the Apollo 11 astronauts brought just over 21 kg of moon rocks from the Moon. Some of it has been subjected to various studies. It was drilled, pressed, examined under a microscope, tested with chemicals.

Some of these studies were carried out by NASA, involving outside organizations. Among them were studies on insects. They were assigned to entomologist Marion Brooks from the University of Minnesota. She conducted experiments with cockroaches and came to the conclusion that the lunar soil does not harm them.

The samples remained with the scientist, although they were never formally transferred to her ownership. When Brooks died in 2007, the dead cockroaches became the property of her daughter. And she sold them in 2010, and now this new owner has put them up for auction.

But the US government, represented by NASA lawyers, does not forget who these dead cockroaches actually belong to. Therefore, they asked the auction organizers to contact the owner with a request to transfer them to the space agency.

According to

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