In the summer of 1971, NASA's Apollo program launched its ninth manned mission into space. After landing on the surface of the Moon on July 30, Commander David R. Scott and Lunar Module Pilot James B. Irwin of Apollo 15 (two of the three astronauts on the mission) spent three days collecting samples and taking hundreds of photographs. According to CNET, a Boston-based auction house is currently offering a selection of rare objects from that and other space missions, including a camera lens used extensively by Scott to document his surroundings.

According to RR Auction, the Zeiss Tele-Tessar 500mm f/8 lens is accompanied by a letter from Scott that verifies that he used the lens with his Hasselblad camera on the lunar surface. The silver lens is a full 12 inches long and features a NASA serial number engraved on the body, a lens cap covered in duct tape with Scott's name signed on the top, and various Velcro tabs. "This 500mm lens was used to take 293 high-resolution tele-photos during our three days on the Moon and subsequent two days in lunar orbit ...," the astronaut wrote. "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."

Auction estimates for the rare photographic hardware placed its worth between $400,000 and $600,000. RR Auctions has shared images of the object (below), as well as shots of Scott holding it on the Moon, and a few photos from NASA taken with the lens. At the time of writing, three bids have been placed, with the highest at $60,500. Registered bidders still have until April 21 to join in.





Images of Dave Scott/moon courtesy: NASA
Other images courtesy of RR Auction