A Piece of the Moon to Be Sold for $1 Million

Previously sold by Sotheby's in 1993 for $445,000, the Moon fragments are estimated to be worth between $700,000 and $1 million and are the only fragments of the satellite that can be sold legally.

The pieces - a basalt fragment, similar to most of the Earth's volcanic rock, and bits of surface debris known as regolith - are being sold by an unidentified private American collector who purchased them in 1993.

The lunar rocks are expected to fetch between $700,000 and $1 million (£547,715 - 782,450; AUD 986,062 - 1,409,000) when they go up for auction again on November 29.

According to Sotheby's, however, the sample up for auction was ceremonially presented to Nina Ivanovna Koroleva, widow of Sergei Pavlovich Korolev, one of the early designers and directors of the Soviet space program in the 1950s and 1960s.

Samples of the moon collected by the Soviet Union and the United States have typically remained in the government's possession, and laws prevent public gifts - like the moon samples gifted to other countries by the Nixon administration - from being transferred to individuals.

It is "extremely rare" for authentic lunar samples to be put up for public sale, Sotheby's said.

Safety alert over drones that drop out of sky after power failures
The incidents involved the flying devices "falling directly to the ground", according to the regulator. Some of the drones were damaged, but there are no reports of injuries or damage to property.

The spacecraft brought back about 100g of lunar rock and dust from Mare Fecunditatis.

Luna 16 was also the first probe to land in darkness.

The spacecraft descent stage was equipped with a video camera, radiation and temperature monitors, telecommunications equipment, and a drilling rig.

Three tiny rocks, the only known documented pieces of the moon in private hands, are hitting the auction block next month. The U.S. collected lunar soil samples during the Apollo 11-17 missions, while the USSR (succeeded by the Russian Federation) gathered them during the Luna-16, -20, and -24 missions.

They are encased under glass below an adjustable lens and labeled ' -16' [SOIL PARTICLES FROM LUNA-16]'. Tests show that they contain more than 70 elements and are dated approximately 3.4 billion years old.

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