184 moon rocks unaccounted for. Fakes abound.

BBC News – What has happened to Nasa’s missing Moon rocks?.

The US space agency Nasa recently announced that many of the Moon rocks brought back to Earth from two Apollo space missions have gone missing. They were given as gifts to the nations of the world. So what happened to them?

President Richard Nixon ordered that the brick-sized rock be broken up into fragments and sent to 135 foreign heads of state and the 50 US states.

Each “goodwill Moon rock” was encased in a lucite ball and mounted on a wooden plaque with the recipient nations’ flag attached.

Moon rock collected during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969 was also distributed to the same nations and US states.

There were 370 pieces gathered for this purpose from the two missions. Two hundred and seventy were given to nations of the world and 100 to the 50 US states.

But 184 of these are lost, stolen or unaccounted for – 160 around the world and 24 in the US.

Source: BBC News

This is not really a “doubtful” news story since we know that they are definitely unaccounted for. The part I found interesting was this:

An anonymous private collector bought 0.2g of lunar dust for $442,500 (£280,000).

With potential prices in this range, it is no surprise there is a lucrative black market in moon rocks, both real and fake.

Yep. Fake moon rocks. Of course with so many MIA, you might have a real one! But it will be expensive.

Then there is the mysterious tale of how – after a fire at an observatory in Dublin – Ireland’s Apollo 11 Moon rock ended up lying in a rubbish dump, after apparently being thrown out with the rest of the debris.

Oh, dear. That’s a shame. Keep your eyes peeled for suspicious rocks encased in lucite.