NASA Sues Astronaut for Swiping Moon Camera

Moonwalker Edgar Mitchell tried to sell camera at auction

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff | Suggested by Larry-Crehore

Posted Jul 1, 2011 4:15 AM CDT

(Newser) – NASA is suing the sixth man on the moon for a camera that he says would have ended up as "government trash" or moon litter if he hadn't kept it. Government lawyers got involved after Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell attempted to sell the lunar movie camera at auction, where it was expected to fetch up to $80,000, Reuters reports. The 80-year-old astro rejects NASA's claim that he is "exercising improper dominion and control" over its camera and should return it immediately.

Mitchell—who admits that NASA has asked for the camera before—says moon mission astronauts were allowed to keep plenty of mementos. "We have dozens of pieces, all of us who flew to the moon," he tells the Palm Beach Post. Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean, the fourth man to walk on the moon, says he left behind the camera he took there in 1969. "Be kind to Ed," he says. "These things, back in those days, it wasn't important. We were trying to get to the moon and get back alive. The other stuff, it wasn't important."

Former NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell arrives for the premiere of the In the Shadow of the Moon, at the Hayden Planetarium.
Former NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell arrives for the premiere of the "In the Shadow of the Moon," at the Hayden Planetarium.   (AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams)
Alan Shepard, left and Edgar Mitchell, right, are seen on the moon in this photo from the 1971 Apollo 14 mission.
Alan Shepard, left and Edgar Mitchell, right, are seen on the moon in this photo from the 1971 Apollo 14 mission.   (Getty Images)
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