The price of space junk inched closer to the moon on Friday after a hand controller from the Apollo 15 mission sold at auction for $610,063—an apparent new record.
The joystick assembly from the fourth US manned lunar landing was snapped up by an online bidder whose identity was not disclosed by RR Auction, a Massachusetts auction house specializing in rare collectibles.
"It's believed to be the most ever paid, at a public auction at least, for a piece of a NASA spacecraft," Robert Pearlman, founder of the space history and memorabilia website collectSPACE.com, told AFP.
The spring-loaded hand controller with attached cable previously belonged to Apollo 15 commander David Scott, who removed it as a souvenir from the lunar landing module prior to the 1971 mission's return to Earth.
Experts see the price of space collectibles trending ever higher—not least because there are currently no more manned space missions, apart from sojourns in the International Space Station.
Other items sold by RR Auction included an optical alignment sight from the Scott collection that went for $126,179 and a glove worn by astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the historic Apollo 11 mission that fetched $61,212.
Explore further: How bad can solar storms get?