CARSON CITY, Nev.-- This week, a national publication claimed Nevada had lost the Apollo 11 moon rocks given to the state by President Nixon in 1969. That report now appears inaccurate. The Nevada State Museum is setting the record straight.
44 years ago this week, the world watched as man touched down on the moon for the first time. As part of their mission, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldren collected nearly 50 pounds of rock from the lunar surface. It was mainly for research, but within a year, President Nixon gave a small amount to each state.
Fast forward to this week; a Space.com report says Nevada is among 11 states that have lost their rocks.
"I knew the moon rocks were here safely and securely in a storage vault in our collections," said Peter Barton, Administrator of Nevada Museums and History.
Peter Barton says the rocks were never missing. They were just put into storage to make way for different exhibits.
"Nevada is on enough bad lists. We needed to debunk this myth by bringing the moon rocks out," said Barton
Museum staff immediately got to work, and by Saturday morning, the famous rocks took their place again on the floor of the Nevada State Museum.
"We have two sets of specimens, one from the Apollo 11 mission, the first mission to land on the moon and return in 1969, and the second set from the Apollo 17 mission of December 1972, which was the last mission," said Barton.
The rocks are encased in acrylic and accompanied by a Nevada state flag that was actually flown on the moon.
The precious treasures will not be on display for long at the Nevada State Museum in Carson City; after August 11th they'll go back into storage to make way for a new exhibit.