Written by Amilia Rosa, CNN
Like many lunar visitors, the first man on the moon wanted his name on a rock. This is why an upcoming NASA mission will bring the first space rocks to the surface of the moon in 48 years, and will be named after astronauts: Dave Scott, Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean and Neil Armstrong.
The mission, which is expected to launch in February, will arrive by way of a docking with the International Space Station, and the return journey is set to be a scorched experiment in altitude. The agency hopes the event will promote astronaut-led science and education.
NASA has already solicited proposals for various items which could be represented on the samples, which will remain in storage until 2019, when they are released to the public.
Rollo, the space capsule used in the Apollo program, could be purchased by an institution for $3 million, according to NASA.
Amelia Earhart, meanwhile, could be put on an asteroid for $5 million. Or Charles M. Schulz’s Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Lucy in the Sky, “may even come back home to (the United States) one day.”
The collection — which is part of the space agency’s Planetary Protection Office , which aims to prevent Earth from becoming a living laboratory for alien life — will be decided during an online lottery in July, and due to the state of lunar rocks on the moon (they have “a four-year shelf life”) only 1,000 will be placed on public display.