Interesting Headlines of May/June 2011

From bringing back lost space memorabilia to unlocking the mysteries of early man, plenty of headlines have hit the news. In this article, you will learn information that has appeared in May and June of 2011 , about space history and ancient fossils regarding humans.  

Missing Moon Dust Has Been Located

After the iconic walk on the Moon, dust brought back from the Apollo 11 mission went missing nearly 40 years ago, and until now , no one had a clue where it had ended up. This month, it has been reported that this moon dust has been recovered from an auction house in St. Louis. It has since been returned to the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The dust that had been placed on sale at the auction house was the size of a fingertip. This unique lunar material is highly sought-after and rare since going back to the moon isn’t in the cards for NASA anytime soon. The moon dust is certainly a high-value item.

Investigators believe the dust originated from the film cartridge of a camera used by astronauts during the first trip to the moon in 1969. The dust was lifted from the cartridge using a 1-inch piece of clear tape. How it found its way into the black market is a mystery, but it was sold in 2001. NASA investigators believed a German collector bought the dust, who cut the tape into tiny slivers instead of returning it to the government.

As soon as they saw the listing for moon dust appear for sale in St. Louis, NASA and the U.S. attorney’s office sprang into action. They shut down the transaction , involving both the auction house and the seller. It was actually the widow of the moon dust owner trying to sell the dust. Her name was not released to the public. She did not know where her late husband had bought the dust. The widow did not give any trouble in returning the dust to the proper authorities.
The auction house estimated the value of the moon dust between $1,000 and $1,500.

Fossil Teeth of Peking Man

In May, headlines hit the news of an extremely rare find in the human fossil department. The Museum of Evolution at Uppsala University claims to have in their possession the fossil of a canine tooth from the “Peking Man.” This is of great interest since most of the finds have disappeared during World War II. Interestingly, the tooth has remained untouched since it was dug up in China during the 1920s.

Modern technology will play an important role in examining the tooth, which will shed light on the details of the Peking Man’s life. The scientists will study the wear patterns of the tooth and analyze microscopic mineral granules from plant remains. They will hopefully learn more about the diet of the Peking man.