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You Can Buy Actual Moon Rocks for the First Time in Decades

Now's your chance to blow a million bucks on some "tremendously rare" space pebbles.

by River Donaghey
Oct 30 2018, 4:38pm

Moon rock photo via Sotheby's. Gemini IV image courtesy of NASA's Flickr.

Are you an extraordinarily well-to-do space nut with endless disposable income? Are you tired of all those commas and zeros cluttering up your bank statements? Do you longingly stare up into the night sky and think to yourself, Damn, I wish I owned a piece of that? Well, you're in luck!

This November, Sotheby's is set to auction off three tiny moon rocks picked up during a Soviet expedition in 1970—and they're expected to sell for anywhere from $700,000 to $1 million, Gizmodo reports. The Soviet government originally gifted the rocks to the widow of a Russian rocket scientist, and they first wound up on the auction block in 1993, where they sold for $442,500.

"It was the first time a piece of another world had ever been offered for sale to the public," the Sotheby's listing reads. "It remains to this day, the only known legal sale of moon rocks to have ever occurred. We look forward to once again offering this tremendously rare and historic artifact to the public."

These aren't the only moon rocks floating around on terra firma—NASA has plenty of samples of its own, and has gifted some to various governments over the years—but these are the only ones that private citizens can own without turning to the moon rock black market or whatever.

If you aren't looking to drop an astronomical sum of money on a few tiny pebbles, but are still a wealthy collector with a penchant for the cosmos, the Sotheby's auction has some other cool space-related ephemera going up for sale, too. A Soviet voice recorder from the first space mission to include a female astronaut in 1963 is expected to sell for around $40,000. They're also selling a full Gemini space suit, helmet and all. The listing doesn't specify the suit's exact measurements, but if you're in need of a killer Halloween costume and are willing to drop $150,000, now's your chance.

Sotheby's will be displaying the moon rocks and memorabilia to the public from November 25 to 28, leading up to the auction on November 29. That means that even if you aren't trying to buy the rocks, you'll still have a chance to check out the tiny space fragments before some rich, impassioned space aficionado takes them home to sniff that special moon scent, or whatever someone does with million-dollar pebbles.

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