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A federal judge has ruled that NASA has no right to confiscate an Apollo 11 lunar rock sample bag that had been purchased legally, even though the sale itself had been in error.
udge J. Thomas Marten ruled in the U.S. District Court for Kansas that Nancy Carlson of Inverness, Illinois, obtained the title to the historic artifact as “a good faith purchaser, in a sale conducted according to law.” The government had petitioned the court to reverse the sale and return the lunar sample bag to NASA. “She is entitled to possession of the bag,” Marten wrote in his order.
This court case will hopefully give some legal standing to the private owners of other artifacts or lunar samples that NASA had given away and then demanded their return, decades later.