Of all the things that NASA could lose – satellites, astronauts, chimpanzees – a one-inch piece of tape covered in moon dust from Apollo 11 seems pretty arbitrary. But that doesn’t mean investigators were going to give up looking, even 40 years later.
The dusty tape, now sliced down to about an eight of an inch, turned up at an auction last month and was then promptly seized by the US attorney’s office for eastern Missouri, according to an announcement made on Thursday.
“It wasn’t much to look at, but I will never be that close to the moon again,” Richard G. Callahan, the United States attorney, said.
NASA collected plenty of moon dust samples from the original mission, so it’s unclear what they plan to do with the tape now that they’ve put a decent amount of government time and resources into retrieving it. Maybe they’ll throw it in a glass box and shove it in the corner of some space museum. That box will probably spend the next 40 years collecting Earth dust, because pieces of tape are boring to look at, even if they’re peppered in dirt from space. [NY Times]