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Got $600,000? Bid on a lens used in the Apollo 15 mission

Apollo 15 Dave Scott falling
When it comes to exclusive clubs, moon visitors may be one of the toughest to enter. Only 12 people have ever managed to make it to the cratered surface thus far in the course of human history, but even if you never pay it a visit, you may be able to own a major piece of its history — or at least, our history relating to the moon. RR Auction is planning on putting a vintage Zeiss 500mm telephoto lens up for bidding later in April, a piece of equipment that once sat in the personal collection of former astronaut Dave Scott, who commanded the 1971 Apollo 15 moon mission. Sure, you can pick up most of these antique lenses for less than $1,000, but for lenses that have traveled into outer space and back, you should expect a heftier price tag. How much heftier? Up to about $600,000, RR Auction estimates.

The 1971 mission was the very first that explored the Hadley Rille channel and the Apennine mountain range, located near the Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains). The Zeiss played a huge part in capturing much of the photographic evidence from this trip, ultimately helping to take some 293 photographs. And now, you can document some of your own most important moments with the lens, too.

Well, maybe not. The lens, which was quite advanced for its time, got a whole lot of use during the mission, which means that it’s not exactly in mint condition anymore. Scott took a tumble at one point (while holding the camera and lens), which means that there remain moon dust particles on some lengths of tape.

Still, if you do manage to snag this piece, you’ll be only the second owner ever (well, third, if you count NASA). “After our three days on the Moon, [the lens] was returned to the Command Module in lunar orbit where it was used for two more days to photograph the surface of the Moon,” Scott writes in a letter that is included in the sale. “After the mission, I received the lens from NASA as a memento of the mission and it has been in my personal collection since that time.”

So get excited to start bidding! But be prepared to spend somewhere between $400,000 and $600,000.

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