NASA seeks friendly solution to ownership row

Posted by Kate Taylor

NASA says it'll do its best to resolve a dispute over an astronaut's attempts to auction off a notebook used in the Apollo 13 mission.

Commander Jim Lovell used the notebook to jot down his calculations for the mission's emergency landing.

He'd been in the process of auctioning it - with the bidding having reached $388,000 - when NASA waded in and disputed his ownership. Several other, more minor, items were also up for sale.

The argument's widened to take in many other artifacts and memorabilia relating to NASA missions, and which have already been sold. Astronauts say they were given permission.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden yesterday met with former Apollo astronauts Jim Lovell, Gene Cernan, Charlie Duke, Rusty Schweickart and others.

"These are American heroes, fellow astronauts, and personal friends who have acted in good faith, and we have committed to work together to find the right policy and legal paths forward to address outstanding ownership questions," he says.

"I believe there have been fundamental misunderstandings and unclear policies regarding items from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Skylab programs, and NASA appreciates the position of the astronauts, museums, learning institutions and others who have these historic artifacts in personal and private collections."

Recently, NASA sued Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell over the ownership of a video camera that went to the moon.

Bolden said he planned explore all policy, legislative and other legal means to sort the matter out "and ensure that appropriate artifacts are preserved and available for display to the American people."