Astronaut Sued For Selling Moon Camera!

You know times are tough.  Even former astronauts are forced to sell off their possession.  And, worse than that, the government says they can’t.

Learn more after the jump.

The brunt the case is this:  Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 astronaut and sixth man to walk on the moon, attempted to auction off a camera he used on the moon via Bonhams auction house.  NASA said not so fast, filing a lawsuit claiming the camera (and anything else on board the spacecraft) remains the property of NASA.  Mitchell claims the camera was given to him forty years ago.   He further explains:

The lunar modules didn’t come back from the moon and everything in them — all the equipment — was considered government throwaways and it was deliberately crashed into the moon to ring seismometers that we set up to get data from inside the moon. However, we had an agreement with NASA management at that point that little things, like the cameras, could be kept.

He is nonplussed by NASA lawsuit:

Apparently, they changed the rules after I left NASA’s service. Since the shuttle was a reusable spacecraft, it didn’t include throwaway material, like we had in the lunar module. So, they quit allowing crew members to take stuff from the flight.

We aren’t lawyers.  And can’t speak on the legal issues here.  But it seems awfully petty of NASA to forbid one of the few people to walk on the moon the change to own and sell a small memento like this.


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