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Cockroaches that ate Apollo 11's moon dust are up for sale. NASA ain't happy about it

ELISSA NADWORNY, HOST:

Spacesuits, lunar modules - these are some of the items from NASA you expect to appreciate in a museum setting. But the agency is trying to recover a different kind of space memorabilia. The astronauts in the Apollo 11 mission that first landed humans on the moon collected moon dust and brought it back to Earth. Researchers used it in experiments, including, yes, feeding it to cockroaches to determine if the dust was toxic. Now some of the moon dust and the remains of the cockroaches who ate it have ended up for sale at an auction. Boston-based RR Auction told The Associated Press they hoped the combo would go for at least $400,000. But NASA says it all still belongs to the federal government, and they want it back. The items were pulled from the auction, but their ultimate fate is yet to be decided. Buying the moon dust - I get it, but I could do without the cockroaches.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Elissa Nadworny reports on all things college for NPR, following big stories like unprecedented enrollment declines, college affordability, the student debt crisis and workforce training. During the 2020-2021 academic year, she traveled to dozens of campuses to document what it was like to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic. Her work has won several awards including a 2020 Gracie Award for a story about student parents in college, a 2018 James Beard Award for a story about the Chinese-American population in the Mississippi Delta and a 2017 Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in innovation.