Apollo 11 relic mistakenly sold in Cosmosphere case returned to Illinois woman

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

CHICAGO – NASA has returned a bag used to collect lunar samples during the first manned moon mission to an Illinois woman who bought it at auction.

The Chicago Tribune reported that NASA officials turned over the Apollo 11 artifact Monday at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Nancy Lee Carlson of Inverness, Illinois, bought it for $995 at a 2015 government auction. Attorney Christopher McHugh said his client sent it to the Johnson Space Center for study.

Center officials deemed it government property and confiscated it. The government said the "rare artifact" was mistakenly sold. It was recovered in 2003 during a criminal investigation against Hutchinson's Cosmosphere space museum director Max Ary and was misidentified.

A federal judge ruled in December that he didn't have the authority to reverse the sale and it belongs to Carlson.