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Apollo 11 anniversary adds to space appetite

Buzz Aldrin picture on moon
A photograph of Buzz Aldrin on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission, signed by the astronaut himself, is among the hundreds of items offered at a space-themed auction this week. The print is expected to sell for $2,500 to $3,500. (Credit: NASA via Bonhams)

Forty-seven years ago this week, NASA’s Apollo 11 mission put humans on the moon for the first time – and although we don’t currently have the hardware to do that again, the anniversary offers opportunities to own a piece of past achievements in space.

For example, Bonhams auction house in New York is selling hundreds of artifacts from the U.S. and Russian space programs on Wednesday, the anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing. The big-ticket items include an Apollo 11 navigational chart that moonwalker Buzz Aldrin used during the mission, expected to go for as much as $35,000.

There’s also a Gemini training console, which duplicates the panels that were arrayed in NASA’s Gemini capsules and were used to train astronauts in the early 1960s. That’s expected to sell for $60,000 to $90,000. A Russian-style spacesuit that NASA astronaut Don Pettit wore when he rode a Soyuz craft down to Earth in 2003 has a pre-sale estimate of $25,000 to $30,000.

The live auction takes place in New York on Wednesday, but bids can also be placed online.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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