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Flown apollo 11 contingency lunar sample return outer decontamination bag, 1969
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About the item

12 by 8½ inches, white Beta-cloth and polyester with rubberized nylon and brass zipper closure, labelled LUNAR SAMPLE RETURN in large block letters above zipper, part number V36-788034 and serial number "06362AAJ1885" printed on inner seam of bag. INTERIOR OF BAG WITH REMNANTS OF LUNAR DUST FROM THE APOLLO 11 MISSION. 10 inch and 6 inch long parallel tears to underside of bag.\nTHE BAG USED BY NEIL ARMSTRONG ON APOLLO 11 TO BRING BACK THE VERY FIRST SAMPLES OF THE MOON EVER COLLECTED AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE ARTIFACT FROM MANKIND'S GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT LANDING A MAN ON THE MOON. NEARLY ALL OF THE EQUIPMENT FROM THAT HISTORIC MISSION IS HOUSED IN THE US NATIONAL COLLECTION AT THE SMITHSONIAN. THIS THE ONLY SUCH ARTIFACT AVAILABLE FOR PRIVATE OWNERSHIP. DURING THE FIRST FEW MINUTES OF MAN'S FIRST LUNAR EXPLORATION, ARMSTRONG COLLECTED NEARLY 500 GRAMS OF MATERIAL FINER THAN 1 CM, AS WELL AS 12 ROCK FRAGMENTS LARGER THAN 1 CM FROM AN AREA JUST A FEW STEPS AWAY FROM THE LUNAR MODULE EAGLE, IN THE REGION KNOWN AS THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY. GIVEN THE THEN-UNKNOWN NATURE OF LUNAR MATERIAL, THIS SPECIALLY DESIGNED BETA-CLOTH DECONTAMINATION BAG WAS USED TO PREVENT POTENTIAL CONTAMINATION OF THE LUNAR SAMPLES PRIOR TO EXAMINATION BY SCIENTISTS, AS WELL AS TO PROTECT THE COMMAND MODULE AND PLANET EARTH FROM POTENTIAL LUNAR PATHOGENS.\nOn July 16th, 1969 at 9:32 EDT the world watched as the Apollo 11 space vehicle launched, carrying on board its crew: Mission Commander Neil Armstrong, Lunar Module Pilot Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr., and Command Module Pilot Michael Collins. After a 2½ hour checkout period, the Saturn V rocket's third stage injected Command Service Module (CSM) Columbia and Lunar Module (LM) Eagle into the translunar phase of the mission, and at approximately 76 hours, the spacecraft was inserted into lunar orbit. At 100 hours the LM was undocked, and about 90 minutes later, the descent orbit insertion maneuver was performed with a near 30 second burn of the descent propulsion system. Approximately 70 minutes later, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin touched down onto the lunar surface aboard the Eagle in the Sea of Tranquility. (See LOT 100, Apollo 11 Mission Report)\nOn July 20th, 1969, at 109 hours and 42 minutes after launch, Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon. An estimated 530 million people watched the live broadcast of the momentous event and heard Armstrong speak the now-legendary words: "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." After stepping onto the lunar surface, Armstrong immediately set about performing the most important scientific task of the mission the collection of the contingency lunar sample. The contingency sample was taken in view of the sequence camera Two scoopfuls filled the sample bag with approximately 1.03 kilograms of surface material... Both scoopfuls included small rock fragments... visible on the surface from the lunar module windows. (LOT 100, Apollo 11 Mission Report, p 11-10)\nTHE COLLECTION OF THE CONTINGENCY LUNAR SAMPLE ABOVE ALL OTHERS WAS THE TOP PRIORITY, as described in the Apollo 11 Lunar Surface Operations Plan (LOT 98): The nominal plan is to conduct three sample collections of lunar surface material. They are, in order of priority, the contingency, the bulk, and the documented sample collection. The contingency sample will assure the return of a small sample in a contingency situation where a crewman may remain on the surface for only a short period of time. One to two kilograms of loose material will be collected near the LM ladder and the sample bag restowed in the suit pocket to be carried into the ascent stage when the crewman ingresses (LOT 98, p 21). Nothing was left to chance in the mission, and the exact, step-by-step process for collecting the contingency lunar sample was described for the astronauts in detail: Remain within a few feet of ladder, remove the CSC [Contingency Sample Container] from suit pocket. Deploy the CSC handle and pull strap at base of bag to open. Collect sample, in undisturbed area. Pull locking pin on handle release lever. Press release lever and separate handle from lip/bag assembly. Discard handle under or away from LM. Detach bag from lip assembly. Discard lip assembly under or away from LM. Seal sample bag. Restow and secure bag in suit pocket." (LOT 98, p 42)\nThe full contingency sample collection procedure proceeded as follows (from the Apollo 11 Technical Air-to-Ground Transcript): \n04 13 33 58 LMP (Aldrin, observing from the LM): Okay. The contingency sample is down and its ***. Looks like its a little difficult to dig through the initial crust.\n04 13 34 12 CDR (Armstrong): This is very interesting. Its a very soft surface, but here and there where I plug with the contingency sample collector, I run into a very hard surface, but it appears to be very cohesive material of the same sort. Ill try to get a rock in here. Just a couple.\n04 13 34 54 LMP (Aldrin): That looks beautiful from here, Neil.\n04 13 34 56 CDR (Armstrong): It has a stark beauty all its own. Its like much of the high desert of the United States. Its different but its very pretty out here. Be advised that a lot of the rock samples out here, the hard rock samples, have what appear to be vesicles in the surface. Also, I am looking at one now that appears to have some sort of phenocryst." .....\n04 13 36 35 CDR (Armstrong): That [spacesuit] pocket open, Buzz\n04 13  36 35 LMP (Aldrin): Yes, it is. Its not up against your suit though. Hit is back once more. More toward the inside. Okay. Thats good.\n04 13 36 37 CDR (Armstrong): That [the contingency sample] in the pocket\n04 13 36 42 LMP (Aldrin): Yes, push down.\n04 13 36 55 CDR (Armstrong): Got it\n04 13 36 57 LMP (Aldrin): No. Its not all the way in. Push it. There you go.\n04 13 37 08 CDR (Armstrong): Contingency sample is in the pocket. My oxygen in 81 percent. I have no flags, and Im in minimum flow.\n04 13 37 22 CC (CapCom): This is Houston. Roger, Neil.\nApproximately 20 minutes after Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface, Buzz Aldrin joined him. The TV camera was then positioned about 30 feet from the LM onto a tripod, and about 30 minutes later, the astronauts spoke with President Nixon via telephone link. Armstrong and Aldrin then continued to perform their EVA (Extra Vehicular Activity, ie. Moonwalk), which lasted more than 2½ hours, and in which they both ranged up to 300 feet from the LM. During this period, Aldrin deployed the Early Apollo Scientific Experiments Package (EASEP), which included Lunar Passive Seismology, Laser Ranging Retro-Reflector, and Solar Wind Composition tests. Armstrong and Aldrin then gathered and verbally reported on the bulk lunar samples. Aldrin returned to the LM after just under two hours on the lunar surface, and Armstrong followed him approximately 41 minutes later. After spending a total of 21 hours, 36 minutes on the lunar surface, Armstrong and Aldrin fired the engine of the ascent stage of the LM, and at 128 hours three minutes into the mission, docked with the CSM (Command Service Module) Columbia.\nListed in three different spots on the Apollo 11 Final Stowage List (LOT 99) as Decontamination Bag, Contingency Lunar SRC [Sample Return Container], the present bag was first stored inside the Decontamination Bag for the Sample Return Container No. 1(Large Rock Box) which was located in stowage locker A8 of the Command Module (LOT 99, List A, page 34). Upon docking with the LM after taking off from the lunar surface, the decontamination bags were then transferred by CM Pilot Michael Collins to Neil Armstrong through a small hatch located between the LM and the CM. All of the items that were to be transferred from the LM to the CM were first cleaned using a vacuum brush attached to the lunar module suit return hose. The suction was low, and so the task was not only tedious for the astronauts, but also not 100% effective, as evidenced by the lunar dust found in the present bag. After the items were vacuumed, they were then transferred from the LM to the CM, and the present bag was then placed in stowage locker A5 (LOT 99, List E, p. 79). The bag is last listed on page 114 of the Stowage list, to confirm final placement for the CMs entry back into the Earths atmosphere and ocean splashdown.\nA discussion of the bag between Mission Commander Neil Armstrong and Command Module Pilot Michael Collins can be found in the Apollo 11 Command Module On-Board Voice Transcript:\n05 09 12 58 CDR (Armstrong): If you want to have a look at what the moon looks like, you can open that up and look. Dont open the bag though.\n05 09 14 17 CMP (Collins): What was that bag\n05 09 14 20 CDR (Armstrong): Contingency Sample.\n05 09 14 23 CMP (Collins): Rock\n05 09 14 25 CDR (Armstrong): Yes, theres some rocks in it, too. You can feel them, but you cant see them; theyre covered with that graphite.\n05 09 14 39 CMP (Collins): compared to \n05 09 14 45 CDR (Armstrong): Looks like powdered graphite to me.\nOn July 21, trans-Earth injection of the CSM began, and re-entry procedures were initiated on July 24, 44 hours after leaving lunar orbit. The Service Module (SM) separated from the CM, turned to a heat-shield forward position, and re-entered Earths atmosphere. At 195 hours, 18 minutes and 35 seconds on July 24th, the Apollo 11 capsule splashed down into the Pacific Ocean bringing its crew safely back home.\nThe crew was then retrieved by helicopter and taking to the primary recovery ship, the USS Hornet. Precautions were taken to avoid back-contamination by any lunar organisms, so the crew donned biological isolation garments, and then were placed, along with the lunar samples, in the Mobile Quarantine Facility for transport to the Lunar Receiving Laboratory in Houston. After arrival at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, the spacecraft, samples, and the crew were sent to the Lunar Receiving Laboratory quarantine area where they underwent post-landing analysis and observation. On August 10, 1969, the Apollo 11 crew and spacecraft were released from quarantine after no abnormal medical reactions were observed.\nStill containing remnants of lunar dust, this seemingly modest bag has undergone an incredible journey from the Earth to the moon and back, and to us here 48 years later. Due to an error very early on, the bag was misidentified and nearly thrown in the trash and its true identity remained hidden up until just two years ago when it found its way into a seized assets auction held on behalf of the US Marshall's Service. The current owner purchased the bag along with a box full of other space-related odds and ends, and on a hunch, decided to send the bag to NASA for testing. It was determined that not only did the bag contain lunar dust, but it was in fact the very bag used by Neil Armstrong to bring back the contingency lunar sample. A legal battle to determine the rightful ownership of the bag ensued, with the current owner being awarded full ownership and clear title by a Federal judge MAKING THIS THE ONLY SUCH ARTIFACT AVAILABLE FOR PRIVATE OWNERSHIP.\nTHIS IS INDEED THE RAREST AND MOST IMPORTANT SPACE EXPLORATION ARTIFACT TO EVER BE OFFERED -A TRUE FIRST OF FIRSTS; AN ITEM USED TO PROTECT THE FIRST LUNAR SAMPLE, COLLECTED BY THE FIRST MAN ON THE MOON, DURING THE FIRST LUNAR LANDING. ALL OTHER NON-EXPENDABLE ITEMS FROM THE APOLLO 11 MISSION ARE HOUSED IN THE US NATIONAL COLLECTION AT THE SMITHSONIAN - NO OTHER NON-EXPENDABLE OBJECT FROM THAT MISSION HAS EVER BEEN SOLD, UNDERLINING THE RARITY OF THIS OBJECT. ALL OTHER MAJOR SPACE EXPLORATION ARTIFACTS THAT HAVE SOLD HAVE BEEN EITHER RUSSIAN, OR FROM LATER US MISSIONS. SOME OF THESE INCLUDE:\n·The Vostok Spaceship sold in these rooms for $2,882,500 in 2011\n·The Excalibur Almaz Space Capsule for $1,300,000 in 2014 (Lempertz)\n·The Bulova worn by CDR Scott on Apollo 15 for $1,625,000 in 2014 (RR)\n·The rotational hand-controller used by CDR Scott on Apollo 15 for $610,064 in 2014 (RR)\n·The emblems from LMP Irwin's spacesuit, worn on Apollo 15, for $358,000 in 1996 (Chrsitie's)\nTHIS BAG HOWEVER, IS MUCH MORE THAN JUST AN ARTIFACT OF SPACE EXPLORATION IT IS AN ARTIFACT FROM HUMANITY'S GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT, AND THE ONLY EXAMPLE OF ITS KIND THAT IS AVAILABLE FOR PRIVATE OWNERSHIP. WHEN LOOKING AT IT IN THE BROADER CONTEXT OF UNIQUE ITEMS THAT HAD NEVER BEFORE BEEN OFFERED AT PUBLIC AUCTION, SIMILAR ITEMS INCLUDE:\n·The Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton known as "Sue,"sold in these rooms for $8,360,000 in 1997\n· The 1933 Double Eagle Gold Coin, sold in these rooms for $7,590,000 in 2002\nRelated lots: 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 103
US
NY, US
US

condition

Interior of bag stained with remnants of lunar dust; two parallel tears with connecting perpendicular tear to underside of bag, some areas of light wear to cloth. In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.

literature

NASA, Apollo 11 Stowage List. Mission AS 506 CM 107/LM-5. Apollo 11. July 15, 1969. Houston: Manned Spacecraft Center, July 15, 1969; NASA, Apollo 11 Final Flight Plan. AS-506/CSM-107/LM-05. July 1, 1969. Houston: Manned Spacecraft Center, July 1, 1969; NASA, Apollo 11 Mission Report. Houston: Manned Spacecraft Center, November, 1969; NASA, Apollo 11 On-Board Voice Transcription - Command Module, July, 1969; NASA, Apollo 11 Technical Air-to-Ground Voice Transcription, July, 1969; NASA, Apollo 11 PAO Mission Commentary Transcript, July 1969

provenance

Full details and documentation available upon request. 


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


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