Can You Sell or Own Moon Rocks

Can you sell moon rocks? The answer is no. Authentic Moon Rocks, which are rare to find, are illegal to own and sell. All lunar samples are the property of NASA. Take this story of a woman who got arrested for selling moon rocks.

A woman who tried to sell a rare hunk of moon rock for $1.7 million was detained when her prospective customer turned out to be an undercover NASA investigator, officials said Friday.

It is illegal to sell moon rocks, which are considered national treasures. The gray rocks, which were gifted to each U.S. state and 136 countries by then-President Richard Nixon, can sell for millions of dollars on the black market.

About 2,200 samples of lunar rocks, core samples, pebbles, sand and dust — weighing about 840 pounds — were brought to Earth by NASA’s Apollo lunar landing missions from 1969 to 1972. A recent count showed 10 states and more than 90 countries could not account for their shares of the gray rocks.

Gutheinz said most purported moon rocks offered for sale on the Internet are bogus, though authentic moon rocks can be purchased if they came to Earth in a meteorite.

Is there a legal way? PBS says there is.

Moon Dust for Sale. For those who are determined to possess a bit of the moon, there is one legal way to get it. It is legal to buy and sell moon dust that has come back on space artifacts. In 1999, Christie’s in New York City sold a beta patch that was silk-screened with the mission patch and the name of James Irwin, the Apollo 15 astronaut who was the first to drive a lunar rover. The patch came with a light coat of moon dust. Christie’s sold that patch for $300,000.