The controversial moon bag used by astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, will be up for auction again. The bag believed to still contain remnants or moon dust from the Earth's satellite could be sold for $4 million.

The auction will take place in New York next week. Other space memorabilia will be auctioned off together with the moon bag.

Space souvenirs

The auction will be held at the Sotheby on July 20 and will be open to participants worldwide.Aside from the moon bag, the Apollo 13 flight plan with annotations from its crew, an original space suit used by Gus Grissom and photographs of the moon taken by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will be sold to the public as well.

Moon Landing

This year is the 48th anniversary of the first moon landing and the auction will be conducted to commemorate the feat. It is expected to draw a huge crowd not to mention a lot of money. Sotheby's vice president Cassandra Hatton believes that this is because space science is a topic that transcends race, nationality, culture, politics and other divisive factors. The moon and the sky are common grounds for anyone who lives on Earth.

Specifications of the moon bag were also released by the auction house. It is 12 inches by 8.5 inches bearing the name "Lunar Sample Return". For any space memorabilia enthusiast, the moon bag would be a priceless addition to his or her collection. The sample returned back to Earth in July 1969.

Long lost souvenir

The moon bag became controversial after it was discovered in a NASA facility decades after the Apollo mission. It sat inside a box unnoticed at the Johnson Space Center before a garage manager allegedly stole it. US Marshals seized the moon bag, which led to its auction. Nancy Lee Carlson bought it for $995 in 2015.

NASA wanted the sample bag back after they managed to confirm its authenticity, but a judge ruled that Carlson is now the rightful owner of the lunar memorabilia. The incident increased the popularity of the moon bag. According to Sotheby's, this is the reason why Carlson decided to put it in auction once again.

The scientific community and experts in the field are hopeful that the future owner of the moon bag will take utmost care of the precious artifact.

Some are confident that whoever has the money to make the purchase will also have the resources to help preserve the bag. This way, nothing is really lost forever. Meanwhile, NASA, ESA, and China are working on missions to return to the moon. If they succeed, there will be more opportunities to collect lunar rocks and bring them back to Earth.