Nearly half of the rocks we brought back from the moon are now missing. Find out about what happened to them all
NASA has recently announced that many of the Moon rocks brought back to Earth have gone missing. Pieces of the rocks collected on the moon were given as gifts to the nations of the world. Where are they now?
Each "goodwill Moon rock" was encased in a Lucite ball and mounted on a wooden plaque with the recipient nations' flag attached. 370 pieces of rock were gathered during the two missions. 270 pieces were given to nations of the world and 100 were given to the 50 US states.
"Gaddafi's government was given two Moon rocks—they're missing. Romania is missing its Apollo 17 goodwill Moon rock," says Joseph Gutheinz Jr, a Texas-based lawyer and former NASA agent.
The Honduras goodwill Moon rock is for sale on the black market for $5m, which is a reasonable price according to Gutheinz. "I once offered $10,000 for the recovery of Malta's stolen Apollo 17 goodwill Moon rock, but it still hasn't been recovered," he says.
Of the 370 pieces of moon rock, 184 are lost, stolen or unaccounted for—160 around the world and 24 in the US. "The lunar rocks retain a record of events in the early solar system that we cannot obtain elsewhere," says Dr Carle Pieters, a planetary geologist at Brown University.