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NASA Sting Busts Woman Selling Purported Moon Rock

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the it's-her-perfect-right dept.

Moon 161

sgcxf949 writes "Woman attempts to sell a moon rock and gets busted by NASA. Who would have thought that NASA had undercover agents?" Evidently not the subject of this story, who offered to trade her sample of alleged lunar rock for $1.7 million.

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How do you steal moon rock? (3, Funny)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274854)

How do you steal moon rock? I hear it's a great conductor for making Portals, though.

Re:How do you steal moon rock? (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274886)

Yes, and all this time we thought that holes on the moon were craters...

Re:How do you steal moon rock? (1, Funny)

kthreadd (1558445) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274932)

Hm, shouln't NASA be helt accountable for the moon rocks THEY originally STOLE from the moon then?

Re:How do you steal moon rock? (5, Funny)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274984)

Hm, shouln't NASA be helt accountable for the moon rocks THEY originally STOLE from the moon then?

They were going to be, but the lunar ambassadors sent to negotiate reparations were blown up by the Boston police department soon after they landed.

Re:How do you steal moon rock? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275506)

They weren't here to negotiate. They were here trying to cash a stolen social security cheque.

Re:How do you steal moon rock? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275276)

I forcefully used mine onto Ash's Pikachu to turn it into a Raichu last Halloween.

Re:How do you steal moon rock? (2)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274902)

How do you steal moon rock?

The moon isn't exactly hard to find. It's right up there. Just go, break off a piece, and come back. :P

Re:How do you steal moon rock? (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274922)

Science labs aren't the world's best guarded places, and one of the thefts mentioned in the article was the theft of a safe from a lab.

Re:How do you steal moon rock? (4, Informative)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275090)

RTFA! Sjezus. NASA previous shipped the rocks via mail. It got stolen. They are still searching for those missing parts since it had cost them about 50.000 per gram to get the rock here.

doesnt mean she was selling those rocks (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275940)

dont be fooled by the rocks that she got

they might not be the rocks from the box

she used to have a little now she wants alot

no matter where the case goes, we dont know where the rocks came from

Re:How do you steal moon rock? (2)

e9th (652576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275282)

It's not just the Feds you can steal them from. From TFA:

...with the exception of two sets of goodwill gifts presented to 135 nations, the 50 states, and the U.S. provinces

According to this week-old story [yahoo.com]

A recent count showed 10 states and more than 90 countries could not account for their shares of the gray rocks.

Re:How do you steal moon rock? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275304)

Who would want em? Pure poison.

--Cave Johnson

Well, obviously it's fake. (5, Funny)

Radak (126696) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274884)

Eh NASA? wink wink, nudge nudge.

Moon Shoes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36274908)

Will they bust me too if I try to sell 'em?

Re:Moon Shoes (4, Interesting)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274938)

Any buyer paying $1.7 million for a piece of rock that's supposed to be from the moon, but not sold by NASA probably deserves to part with that money.

B.t.w. as far as I know none of the material collected from the moon is for sale.

Re:Moon Shoes (1)

creat3d (1489345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274976)

My thoughts exactly... if anyone out there really considers a piece of rock (whatever its impressive origins) to be worth more than a 2 figure sum, at most, deserves to be ripped off. An important life lesson would've been learned: don't pay 1.7 million for a rock.

Re:Moon Shoes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275476)

21st century pet rocks?

Checkout my crotch captcha:

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/824/captchacrotch.jpg/

Re:Moon Shoes (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275550)

I'm pretty sure there are diamonds for sale at more than 99 pick-your-currency-units.

Re:Moon Shoes (1)

creat3d (1489345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275590)

Doesn't change the fact that only an idiot would pay so much for a rock.

Re:Moon Shoes (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275624)

Diamonds, like gold and platinum at least have practical uses like abrasives, conductors etc. Why anyone would want moon rock for anything but pure research is beyond me.

Re:Moon Shoes (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275788)

Doesn't change the fact that only an idiot would pay so much for a rock.

There are people who would say that about computers you have purchased . We all find value in different things.

Baby Shoes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275960)

Sleep with your wife [imdb.com] for $1,000,000.

Re:Moon Shoes (1)

fredmosby (545378) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275634)

I agree completely. Someone should tell Newt Gingrich [cbsnews.com] .

You can't trust even NASA... (3, Interesting)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275072)

Apparently they gave a fake moon rock to the prime minister of the Netherlands a couple of years ago [slashdot.org] .

Re:Moon Shoes (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275534)

NASA probably deserves to part with that money

Isn't NASA a government-funded company and not a private organisation entitled to the profit it generates?

Think about it, who has paid to get these rocks ? Who has paid those engineers ?

Re:Moon Shoes (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275548)

I think the point was that if you're buying a "moon rock" from anyone other than NASA then you're obviously gullible and the seller should throw in the Brooklyn Bridge at half price.

Re:Moon Shoes (1)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275318)

Call em "MoonWalks"

That way you can be sued three ways instead of just one!

Pieces of it are bound to fall sometimes... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274920)

Although certainly, such pieces might not be distinguishable from other meteorites without extremely careful analysis.

Not that I'm saying I support what this woman is saying... in all probability, the story she's made up is complete fabrication - and even if it isn't, then she'd be in possession of stolen property, whether knowingly or not.

But certainly, it's not impossible to privately own pieces of the moon... just very unlikely that you'd know it even if you did.

Re:Pieces of it are bound to fall sometimes... (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275198)

It is possible to own them if they fell to Earth; however, as you said, rocks of this origin are very rare. The vast majority of them came from samples taken during the Apollo missions. While they have been distributed as gifts, some have been stolen. It is more likely that this rock is one that has been stolen rather than one fallen to Earth.

Not tested yet, not proven moonrock (1)

doug141 (863552) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274928)

Possibly just a con.

Not just a Grand Slam (1)

Nkwe (604125) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274952)

Where do you go to buy your moon rocks? Denny's of course!

Re:Not just a Grand Slam (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275286)

Don't you mean "Moons over My Hammy"?

Who offered 1.7 Million? (1)

econolog (2081738) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274962)

It's called a sting. A sting is basically a set up. The person who offered the money was an operative...

Re:Who offered 1.7 Million? (2)

creat3d (1489345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274996)

I don't think finding a legit buyer would've been so hard... there are people out there with lots of money that would jump on the occasion to own a piece of the Moon, one-upping their friend's diamond encrusted hummer and the other guy's collection of Queen Victoria's used panties.

Re:Who offered 1.7 Million? (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275732)

the other guy's collection of Queen Victoria's used panties.

Princess Victoria's panties are more interesting, I'd think.

really? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36274982)

was a chunk of rock worth it nasa? couldnt call it fraud and let the authorities take care of it? had to set up a "sting"?

Re:really? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275220)

Moon rocks are apparently considered national treasure in the US. They needed to set up a sting in order to ensure that they had the rocks so as to verify that they were real and put them back in the collection. The problem is that it could be fraud, but even if the rocks are real the attempted sale would still have been illegal under US law.

Re:really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275298)

Each pound of rock cost nasa a shit load of money (transportation cost isn't exactly cheap) so yeah, it is even though they have quite a bit of it, they have a large vested interest in keeping it as the sole owner (as the public value of it ironically goes down as if common on the market and Nasa main concern is keeping people's interest in them like going to museums to see them).

NASA plants ad. Hollywood plants /. story (1)

retroworks (652802) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275008)

"Now the subject of an upcoming book and feature film in development by the author and producers behind 2010's "The Social Network," the student thieves were busted when the Belgian rock collector they contacted to buy the moon material contacted the FBI."

Slashdot falls for another planted story, news at 11.

This annoys me somehow (3, Interesting)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275016)

The idea that all the moon rock in the world is owned by the US government and any in private hands must therefor be stolen is somehow very annoying to me. Makes me wonder if you could finance a robotic trip to the moon that had the goal of returning 100kg of moonrock and selling it on the open market. Then NASA would have a much harder time proving that people didn't privately own moonrock.

Re:This annoys me somehow (2)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275040)

Well until you get some private investors to pony up the necessary cash to do this, I'd say it's safe to track down the lineage of any moon rocks currently on the planet to NASA.

Not *all* moon rock (1, Insightful)

aepervius (535155) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275188)

There are a few ion meteorite and a few ounce from the soviet as the article says : "Outside of lunar meteorites and a few ounces of the moon returned by Soviet robotic probes", but seeing the quantity brought back by human processes, yes 99.99% (a few ounces agaisnt 800+ pounds) is near enough 100%.

Re:Not *all* moon rock (1)

joek1010 (980753) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275240)

Certainly seems sufficient for probable cause (and thus an arrest). Chances are incredibly good that anyone purporting to sell a moon rock is committing wire fraud.

NASA does not have jurisdiction over wire fraud (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275904)

nor should they have any arrest powers.

Re:This annoys me somehow (2)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275124)

Sure you could.

It wouldn't stop NASA from probably doing an inquiry, but such an endeavor would have enough of a paper trail that it would not be difficult to substantiate your story. The hardest part of the whole thing would be making sure that the launch itself was legal, and providing sufficient evidence that your return trajectory would not constitute any sort of health or safety hazard to the general public.

NASA might not like it, because it would lower the value of the moon rocks that they possessed, but given proof of your moon rock's origins, there is nothing they could legally do to you.

Re:This annoys me somehow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275258)

The hardest part of the whole thing would be making sure that the launch itself was legal

Don't be ridiculous. The hard part would be funding the technology to actually do it. If you could cover that then there would be any number of countries happy to sponsor the launch to the extent of ensuring its legality.

Re:This annoys me somehow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275278)

I'm pretty sure nasa would love it if private entrepreneurs made it to the moon.

Re:This annoys me somehow (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275390)

And I'm pretty sure they would also try some sneaky legal trick (maybe eminent domain) to make sure your moon rocks were not privately distributed.

Re:This annoys me somehow (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275528)

NASA might not like it, because it would lower the value of the moon rocks that they possessed...

Not true. The marketplace isn't a zero sum place. Adding some more moon rocks to the market would actually increase demand, as right now, no one is allowed to own any. As long as you didn't flood the market with it, introducing it would create more demand for the product, ie: more people would want it than currently do now, raising the total average price per unit. As long as demand is a multiple of supply, the prices will remain very high. Right now, demand is infinitely higher than supply, so the concept of "value" is meaningless: there is none on any market. You can't put an honest price on something that has never been nor never will be for sale.

The value of any given object is exactly equal to the amount that the highest bidder is willing to pay you at any given time: nothing more, nothing less. THAT is the definition of the market itself.

Re:This annoys me somehow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275692)

I'm pretty sure Nasa scientists have better things to do than connive like DeBeers to inflate asset prices.

Re:This annoys me somehow (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275244)

The idea that all the moon rock in the world is owned by the US government and any in private hands must therefor be stolen is somehow very annoying to me.

I see nothing wrong here. The only possible legitimate moon rocks here on earth are the ones brought back by employees of the U.S. government, who are the one people to ever go to the moon. Any moon rock being sold by anyone other than NASA can only be fake or stolen. It's not too hard to figure out.

Re:This annoys me somehow (1)

djmurdoch (306849) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275314)

According to TFA, there are also meteorites and a few small samples returned by Soviet robotic probes.

Re:This annoys me somehow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275418)

Lunar meteorites have characteristic ablation marks.

Soviets returned a really small amount of moon rocks so it's not a probable source.

Re:This annoys me somehow (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275326)

I didn't say there was anything wrong. I simply said it was annoying.

Re:This annoys me somehow (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275836)

Any moon rock being sold by anyone other than NASA can only be fake or stolen. It's not too hard to figure out.

Your ignorance betrays you.
http://www.meteorites-for-sale.com/catalog/moon-boxes.html [meteorites-for-sale.com]

Re:This annoys me somehow (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275250)

Makes me wonder if you could finance a robotic trip to the moon that had the goal of returning 100kg of moonrock and selling it on the open market. Then NASA would have a much harder time proving that people didn't privately own moonrock.

Hey if you want to finance it then go ahead. It'll probably cost you somewhere in the billions of dollars so I doubt you would sell it for cheap on the open market. Now my figure is just a guess but considering that it cost NASA $820 million to send a pair of rovers to Mars for a 90 day mission with no possibility of return, it's a reasonable estimate. The launch cost for a rocket to get a satellite in space is like $35 million. Again you'd have to upsize it if you want to return something to the Earth.

Re:This annoys me somehow (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275292)

Those rocks cost a shitload of money and quite a few lives to go get....
We're gonna keep track of them for now.

Re:This annoys me somehow (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275300)

I doubt NASA is going around seizing moon rocks for no reason. They only come from one of a few places: Only the US and Russia have ever brought any back (European, Japanese, Chinese and Indian trips to the moon were all one-way). The US has reported several stolen in the past. This is almost certainly one of those or is a fake. Either way, NASA would be remiss in not investigating.

Sure, once someone finances a private trip to the moon that all goes out the window, but until then, just be annoyed. It is almost definitely theirs.

Re:This annoys me somehow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275308)

Yet the idea of someone trying to scam 1.7 million out of someone else does not bother you at all?

Re:This annoys me somehow (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275350)

Oh, that bothers me too. But there are ways to test that a moon rock is authentic. From what I know there are things about the chemistry and macroscopic composition that are unique to moon rocks.

No, what bothers me is one single authority having a monopoly on something.

Re:This annoys me somehow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275376)

Open source Moon rocks? NASA spent billions of dollars collecting them so the government declaring them national treasures isn't so insane. They weren't collected for some one to make a quick buck off them. Put it into perspective. You're proposed trip to the Moon could set your investors back a billion dollars or more "if" it was successful. Your 100 kilos of moon rock would cost the investors 10 million or more a kilo. Are Moon rocks even worth that and even if they were the investors would want a several fold return for their money given the risk. Your idea for "cheap" and sellable Moon rocks would result in Moon rocks that cost more than the most most diamonds. Moon rocks are a bi-product of Moon exploration not a commodity to make money off since other than the novelty they have no real value. The amusing thing was they found that Moon rocks were quite ordinary. There is trace evidence that they have come from the Moon otherwise it's be extremely easy to come up with fake ones. It's why testing is needed to be sure they even came from the Moon.

FYI if you want an actual privately owned Moon rock track down Moon meteors. They are out there. How do they know they aren't NASA Moon rocks? Meteors obviously have their own indentifying characteristics. It's far cheaper to look for Moon meteors for sale than financial a Moon mission. They are still quite rare but more common than Mars meteors.

so christopher columbus (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275892)

spent billions of dollars (in 1492 money) to visit the Americas.

does that mean he owned them?

Re:This annoys me somehow (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275394)

Well strictly speaking, it's not all on US hands. From the WP article on them "Then President Richard Nixon ordered the distribution of fragments of that rock to 135 foreign heads of state (...)" so there's at least 135 pieces on foreign hands, maybe some other nations too have done sample missions. It just doesn't seem very likely they'd show up on eBay.

As for making a trip, good luck on that. The thing about getting a lot of mass off the moon is that you have to bring the craft and fuel for it, first out of earth orbit then into moon orbit then down on the moon without slamming into it. The launch weigh of the lunar missions was about 45000 kg, of which 24000 kg was the service module with engines and fuel to get in/out of lunar orbit, 15000 kg for the lander and just 6000 kg for the crew module. Of the lander 10000 kg stayed on the ground, less than 5000 kg went back up. And of that, most was fuel - the actually payload was a crew of 2 and - on Apollo 17 - 108 kg of moon rocks so 250-300 kg total lift capacity.

Drop the crew module, cut everything else in half and it might just fit a $100M Falcon 9 Heavy and carry 100-150 kg of moon rock back. Since you'd have to design everything but the rocket I'd low-ball the estimate to at least $300M. Is anyone going to pay $3000/gram for moon dust? I sorta doubt it. Maybe it gets a little better when you drop all life support, human supplies and land with much higher Gs with the lander, but the essence is that getting payload off the moon will be very expensive.

Re:This annoys me somehow (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275518)

You also can be more flexible in recovery options. If the stuff slams into the Earth pretty hard, you don't really care, as long as it doesn't hit anybody. The other way in which you can be more flexible is that you can adopt a flight path that will take months instead of days.

But, I agree, it's an expensive proposition, and I think your estimate is still pretty close to accurate. Though I suspect you might be able to get that price for your moon rock if you marketed it well.

Re:This annoys me somehow (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275768)

Let's just send Bruce Willis up there and blow it up. Then we'll end up with plenty of moon rocks here on Earth.

Re:This annoys me somehow (2)

GWRedDragon (1340961) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275422)

Worse, if you RTFA you will see discussion of the fact that moon rock samples were twice given to each of the 50 states and to each existing country at the time.

There is absolutely no reason to assume that with all those countries, all of them legally prohibited the transfer of state gifts to private individuals. I'm sure several of those could be privately held, completely legally.

Of course, it would still be super rare and the owner would likely retain the gift set itself, which would pretty easily differentiate the sample from those stolen from NASA.

Re:This annoys me somehow (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275554)

It's my theory that if you successfully pulled this off, NASA would find a way to keep the stuff out of private hands anyway. Perhaps by exercising eminent domain or something.

Given that, I would not be surprised in NASA 'leaned' on countries to suddenly have 'no state gifts to private individuals' laws. My suspicion is that someone in NASA thinks its vitally important that there be no private ownership of moon rocks. I suspect the person has motives that seem on the surface to be altruistic (prevention of fraud, prevention of the private ownership of space, etc...) but are actually about power.

Re:This annoys me somehow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275426)

Makes me wonder if you could finance a robotic trip to the moon that had the goal of returning 100kg of moonrock and selling it on the open market.

But that's not happening yet, is it? Grow a fucking spine and leave US bashing out of this. Their rocks their rules and that's only fair.

Re:This annoys me somehow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275436)

The idea that all the moon rock in the world is owned by the US government and any in private hands must therefor be stolen is somehow very annoying to me. Makes me wonder if you could finance a robotic trip to the moon that had the goal of returning 100kg of moonrock and selling it on the open market. Then NASA would have a much harder time proving that people didn't privately own moonrock.

Aside from some Russian samples, meteorites, and a couple gifts made the US is the only country that has actually gone to the moon and collected samples. Duh.

She should use the Mooninite defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275038)

The Earth is their moon.

CAN'T PROVE IT'S NOT A MOON ROCK !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275054)

Now can they, no more than anyone can prove it has any. It's been forty years and that's long enough to forget. I say, if some foo wants to buy a rock, let the foo buy it.

Re:CAN'T PROVE IT'S NOT A MOON ROCK !! (1)

phageman (627693) | more than 3 years ago | (#36276052)

Sure they can. The samples that were returned were thoroughly characterized geologically, so NASA knows exactly what kind of rock it has to be, and AFAIK moon rocks have a very specific isotopic composition not found in terrestrial rocks (probably due to exposure to solar radiation).

Err (1)

Xaide (1015779) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275060)

Yes, on the moon nerds get their pants pulled down and they are spanked with moon rocks.

Lunar Enforcement Authority drop the rock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275062)

Is this really the best use of US tax revenue?

Huh? (2)

Outtascope (972222) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275074)

I'm normally a big NASA supporter, but when exactly did NASA get into law enforcement? NASA agents? wtf.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275134)

I'm normally a big NASA supporter, but when exactly did NASA get into law enforcement? NASA agents? wtf.

Remember that next time you're in a polling place.

Taxes are NOT used for "investment".

Taxes are NOT used to help YOU.

Taxes are used by the people in power for nothing more than keeping themselves in power.

Re:Huh? (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275266)

I'm normally a big NASA supporter, but when exactly did NASA get into law enforcement? NASA agents? wtf.

Since NASA has a policy of not giving out moon rocks to anyone other than a select few (the astronauts who walked on the moon don't even get any) they probably want to investigate these things to see if they are legitimate moon rocks that have been stolen.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275504)

They also have to protect the world from soviet moon rocks. You know those that hasn't been denaquadahied.

Re:Huh? (1)

arielCo (995647) | more than 3 years ago | (#36276050)

Quoth The Fine Article:

Several local police officers and NASA OIG agents then moved in on the suspect, took possession of the alleged moon rock and detained the woman for questioning.

"NASA OIG"? Wikipedia to the rescue:

Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is an office that is part of Cabinet departments and independent agencies of the United States federal government as well as some state and local governments. Each office includes an Inspector General and employees charged with identifying, auditing, and investigating fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement within the parent agency.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OIG [wikipedia.org]

So, the NASA guys were more like private detectives (I know, I know) and the cops did the arrest

What about meteorites originating from the moon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275118)

Wouldn't they also be considered "moon rocks"?

Re:What about meteorites originating from the moon (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275162)

Yes they would. However, it's very unlikely that you could possibly know that it actually came from the moon without subjecting it to a rigorous set of tests to analyze its exact chemical composition.

If you had actually gone through the effort of doing that, and verified its origins to be from the moon, you would be a fool to not keep the paperwork proving these tests had been done, and getting them legally notarized so that the authenticity of your claim that it was a moon rock could not be disputed.

Government idiocy knows no bounds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275146)

This is not something on which federal government resources should be used.

Anyone stupid enough to buy a moon rock deserves to be parted from his money.

I am a US citizen, and the boundless stupidity of the government which controls people in the US both scares me
and sickens me. And if you don't agree, you are on the wrong side, buddy.

Re:Government idiocy knows no bounds (2)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275246)

The point of buying an authentic moon rock would be to possess something that not very many people possess. It is something that probably only a collector of obscure paraphernalia would prize... and is not likely to be considered of any real worth by most people, except to possibly try to resell.

However, given that a person is inclined to want to own a piece of the moon, the reason to not buy a moon rock is because, considering that almost 100% of the rocks on the earth that are verifiably from the moon are very well accounted for, any private sale of an alleged moon rock is almost certainly founded on a false claim of the rock's origin, or else is stolen property.

Such an offer of sale could be trivially met with the challenge that the seller provide proof of the origins of the moon rock and its acquisition, including notarization, which would not be difficult to obtain, given the likely difficulty that one would encounter in either or both of these.

New Business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275148)

How hard is moon rock?
I'm thinking of starting a business - get rock from the Moon, bring it back to Earth and sell it to Palestinians to throw at Israeli tanks. Could it be strong enough to pierce armor?

That's no moon rock... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275158)

...it's a space station rock...thing, erm...

How Pathetic (1, Insightful)

HansKloss (665474) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275206)

Dozen of agents arresting a housewife???
Serious criminals walk on streets and laugh every day. Not to mention many other crimes that go unpunished.

What we lately read, are only stories about heavily armed forces busting housewives and teenagers. Gross.

Re:How Pathetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275340)

Yes, but this involved money being transferred from a rich person to a poor person. That's always been a serious crime.

Another problem with the US government (1)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275232)

Too many federal law enforcement agencies [wikimedia.org] .

Why does each agency needs its own heat packing force? The current system seems incredibly inefficient and prone to abuse. Why can't the FBI do investigative work so NASA can focus on aeronautics, space and ET?

Bust and woman? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275234)

Its a /. thing. I saw bust and woman, and jumped at the article like a teenager in his moms basement. Oh wait!

NASA as Law Enforcement. (2)

lorg (578246) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275252)

NASA as Law Enforcement; If they had a rendition program they could really start using that "In space nobody can hear you scream" tag line again.

I wonder what their badge looks like .. a giant golden rocket?

hacker rule one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36275334)

never visit a .gov

Let's get this straight... (0)

Nyder (754090) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275368)

So the moon belongs to no nation, yet moon rocks belong to the USA?

Ya, sounds like typical USA policy.

Re:Let's get this straight... (1)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275460)

Oil which lies miles underneath the floor of the ocean does also belong to no one...yet we need to pay BP and other companies for it because they tell us "we own it, you pay it"...why's that?

The U.S. has used a very big amount of resources (money, material and human) to get to the moon, and they brought something back and of course they want to keep it, because they've earned it.

the moon is not a national park (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275882)

you cannot go to a land mass that has no legally declared owners or territorial sovereigns, and then claim that you somehow 'own' it. its ridiculous on it's face.

Re:the moon is not a national park (2)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 3 years ago | (#36276008)

Why can't you? That's how every scrap of land that someone owns today originated, when it comes down to it.

Re:Let's get this straight... (1)

John Bresnahan (638668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275592)

And any nation that wants their own Moon rocks can go get their own.

What's that? You don't want to spend the money? You just want the U.S. to give away the Moon rocks that they spent tens (hundreds?) of billions of dollars to collect?

Ya, sounds like typical socialist mindset.

Re:Let's get this straight... (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275650)

They picked them up while visiting. Just like if you are in the middle of the ocean in international waters and catch some fish, they are yours.

Old (0)

pedersend_ (1974104) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275440)

Once again... slashdot is a week late to party. Old news.

Wow. Had to clear my browser cache... (0)

Slutticus (1237534) | more than 3 years ago | (#36275928)

...just to make sure. Isn't this story like a week old?
From a news story on 5/22: "According to reports, NASA investigators had been targeting the woman for several months in suspicion of the potential illegal sale of a moon rock. The final meeting between the parties took place in a restaurant in Lake Elsinore, CA, where the woman offered to sell the alleged hunk of the moon for $1.7 million to an undercover NASA official. 'After conversation, the moon rock was produced inside the restaurant (and) several (sheriff's) investigators and NASA agents moved in on the suspect, took possession of the rock and detained the suspect,' said Sheriff's Sgt. Todd Paulin in an interview with KPSP Local 2 News. Authentic pieces of the moon, collected by astronauts who have been there, are considered national treasures and, as such, it's illegal to sell them per federal law. The unidentified woman attempting to sell her chunk of moon rock hasn't been arrested, however—investigators need to first determine whether the rock is legitimately from the moon."
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