last Thursday, he had to be in New York if one wanted to “catch the moon”. The auction house Sotheby’s organized an auction of fragments of stone collected on the satellite of the Earth. These three rock samples lunar samples taken during a mission in the soviet non-inhabited in 1970 have been acquired, in one lot, for 855.000 $ (755.000 euros approximately). These fragments, brought back by the mission, Luna-16, which had initially been offered to the wife of Sergei Korolev, considered the father of the soviet space programme, and passed away in 1966.

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The final price, which includes commissions and fees, represents almost the double of the one reached (442.500 dollars) upon the first sale of these samples, also at Sotheby s. It is located in the middle of the range of estimates provided by the auction house, which went from 700,000 to a million dollars. After the last sample submitted at the end of November is the only among the fragments that are listed taken on the Moon, whether through missions, u.s. and soviet, that is not the property of a government.

sales Success moon Three moon rocks, brought back from the mission soviet Luna-16 in 1970. DON EMMERT/AFP

Sign that the lunar missions retain a strong power of attraction popular, a bag used by Neil Armstrong to put the first lunar samples ever collected by man had been sold for $ 1.8 million at a sale at Sotheby’s in New York, in July 2017.

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If China is able, in 2013, to ask a module on the Moon, the only samples brought back on Earth to this day from missions, american and soviet. The United States are no longer returned since 1972 and the mission of Apollo 17, while Russia has not been on the Moon since the soviet era and the flight ” Luna-24 in 1976.

Nasa plans to return with a manned flight by 2023 and China’s ambition to build on the Moon base inhabited. Before that, an israeli organization private non-profit plans to send, in December, a module uninhabited, the landing is expected in mid-February, 2019.