If someone gave you a gift straight from outer space, you’d probably take care of it. At the very least, if you did put it away, you’d remember where you set it, right? President Richard Nixon gave the each state a fragment of moon rock in a little desktop display as a gift and Minnesota put it away, apparently completely forgetting that their state had possession of extraterrestrial moon rocks.
The Star Tribune reports that Minnesota’s moon rocks were found with other military artifacts in a storage area at the Veterans Service Building in St. Paul, Minnesota. The historian who found them, Maj. Blane Iffert, had to go online in search of the history of the strange find.
“When I searched the Internet to find additional information about the moon rocks, I knew we had to find a better means to display this artifact,” Iffert said.
The Atlantic reports that Minnesotans shouldn’t feel too bad that their state government apparently lost the moon rocks. Nixon gave out approximately 193 moon rock gifts made from the samples brought back by Apollo 11 and Apollo 17, and at present less than 50 are accounted for. That doesn’t mean the others are lost, per se, but it does mean that neither NASA or the government know where they are.
The moon rocks are scheduled to be transferred to the Minnesota Historical Society in a ceremony on Wednesday.
“We are honored to have this in our collection to preserve for future generations,” Pat Gaarder, deputy director for the Minnesota Historical Society, said. “It is also exciting to think that our collection includes artifacts from across the globe and now with these moon rocks, the galaxy.”
The moon rocks found in St. Paul weren’t the only ones in the news lately. NASA’s David Wolf recently spoke at a Star Trek convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, and brought with him a moon rock from the Apollo 15 mission. When the company that was intended to guard the moon rock backed out, WishTV reports that The Shane Company, a jewelry store, kept the moon rock safe in its vault.