Thursday, May 20, 2010

Moon Rock

I normally don’t buy or read newspapers, but I was out yesterday grabbing a sandwich and I spotted this headline:


In 1976, NASA cut up one of their lunar rocks, called the “Goodwill Moon Rock,” into 180 one-gram-sized nuggets to disburse among the fifty states and 130 other countries, to commemorate Apollo 17, the final lunar landing. Each shard was encased in plastic and mounted on a wood plaque with the state or country flag embossed beneath it. It was meant for public display.

Now, apparently, there’s a problem: No one knows where New Jersey’s rock is.

Oh, and it could be worth millions of dollars.

The curator of the state museum doesn’t know where it is. Nor do chemists at Rutgers University. The chief of staff for the governor at the time has no recollection of it.

A UPI dispatch at the time stated that the rock would go on immediate public display. That never happened.

In fairness to my fair garden state, nineteen others states and ninety-four countries can’t account for their commemorative lunar shards either. Ouch! Honduras’ missing rock was apprehended during a sting operation a decade ago in which someone was willing to fork over $5 million for the stolen sliver. And the Netherlands has recently discovered their rock is a counterfeit.

I told all this to my wife, finishing with, “I wonder where our state’s moon rock could possibly be?”

“Sitting on Tony Soprano’s desk,” she said matter-of-factly. “That’s how we do business in New Jersey.”

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