Baton Rouge, LA.—Louisiana has recovered a missing lunar rock gifted to the state to commemorate the last manned US mission to the Moon, when it fell into the hands of a recycler of wooden pallets .
The Advocate of Baton Rouge reported that the rock from the 1972 Apollo 17 landing was in possession of the Louisiana State Museum on Tuesday. According to the newspaper, it was returned to the state late last year by a Florida man who planned to use the wood from the plaque in which it was placed to repair the gun.
But the recovery was not disclosed until Monday when Robert Perlman, a journalist and space historian, reported it in the online publication CollectSpace, the advocate said.
“As you can appreciate, I’m glad it’s here now,” said Steven Mklansky, the museum’s interim director.
The lunar fragment was one of hundreds presented to states, territories and foreign nations in the mid-1970s by the administration of former President Richard Nixon. These include samples taken by Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 crew during the first moon landing in 1969.
But many of them later went missing.
There was also an Apollo 11 rock in Louisiana that was believed to be missing, but the Advocate found it was in storage at the Louisiana Museum of Arts and Sciences.
How and when the Apollo 17 rock disappeared is unclear. It is encased in an acrylic ball which is attached to a wooden plaque with a miniature replica of the state flag and inscriptions.
The Florida man who discovered it told Perlman that he had bought the plaque at a garage sale at some point in the past 15 years. He had been collecting old plaques to renew the stock on his guns to use the wood, and had recently discovered it in his collection.
Perlman said the man did not want to reveal his identity.
Mklansky said the museum still plans to review its authenticity, but officials have not decided what steps they will take.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times