Friday, July 01, 2011

NASA sues astronaut over Apollo 14 camera

Nasa

If you were the sixth man on the moon, you might think that, like Hollywood actors on a set, you deserved a souvenir or two.

It seems that, 40 years ago, after Edgar Mitchell performed his moonwalking duties, he took a lunar movie camera home with him, one that he tried to auction in May.

In Reuters' description, Mitchell's lawyer says that he received permission from NASA to take the camera.

The mention of the word "lawyer" might lead you to conclude that there might be a dispute. Indeed, the U.S. government, on behalf of NASA, has reportedly filed papers in court to prevent the auction from happening and to have the camera returned to NASA.

Donald Jacobson, Mitchell's lawyer, told Reuters: "Objects from the lunar trips to the moon were ultimately mounted and then presented to the astronauts as a gift after they had helped NASA on a mission."

However, NASA is saying that as it has no written record of the transfer of ownership, it should have it back.

Indeed, the Palm Beach Post says the government is being remarkably insistent in its filing. It quotes the papers as saying: "Defendant Edgar Mitchell is a former NASA employee who is exercising improper dominion and control over a NASA Data Acquisition Camera."

The camera was expected to fetch somewhere between $60,000 to $80,000, which doesn't seem a vast enough amount for NASA to toss a conniption.

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