By Evan Ackerman
It’s pretty dusty up there on the moon. So dusty, in fact, that in an effort to prepare the lunar surface for human habitation, a company called W.I.S.E. Retail Solutions is now stuffing Apollo 11 commemorative pens with it and selling them to earthlings to help make the place a bit tidier. The pens have a little chamber for the dust, as well as “a handcrafted, individually hand painted miniature Apollo 11 astronaut figurine” at the top.
Of course, it’s not real moon dust. Of course. The dust in the pens is actually a simulant called JSC-1A, which is made in Texas with volcanic ash from Arizona. It’s just about as close to the real thing as you’re likely to get, though… NASA uses JSC-1A to test out equipment destined for the lunar surface. Real moon dust is electrostatically charged (making it stick to everything) and highly abrasive; not something you really want getting into either sensitive equipment or your lungs. With that in mind, NASA goes through literally tons of it trying to moon-proof spacesuits and the like.
If you’re interested in the real moon bits, you can find pieces of the moon for sale from meteorite dealers (how else do you s’pose it gets to Earth?) online. The moon is not cheap, though… Expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 per gram. If you’re thinking you might rather have the pen instead, it’ll only cost you $25, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Manned Space Flight Education Foundation.
Oh, and just a warning: their website is atrocious.