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NASA Missing Hundreds of Moon Rocks

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the maybe-you-should-go-get-more dept.

Moon 132

New submitter Minion of Eris writes "It seems NASA can't keep track of its goodies. A recent audit discovered that moon rocks have been missing for 30 years, loaned displays have gone unreturned, and book-keeping has been generally poor. From the article: 'In a report issued by the agency's inspector general on Thursday, NASA concedes that more than 500 pieces of moon rocks, meteorites, comet chunks and other space material were stolen or have been missing since 1970. That includes 218 moon samples that were stolen and later returned and about two dozen moon rocks and chunks of lunar soil that were reported lost last year. NASA, which has lent more than 26,000 samples, needs to keep better track of what is sent to researchers and museums, the report said. The lack of sufficient controls "increases the risk that these unique resources may be lost," the report concluded.'"

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Very Rare Regolith Missing? (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318418)

Yeah so these things are worth millions of dollars (to collectors and researchers alike) and you call them "missing"? Perhaps 'stolen' would be a better word considering the worth of these rocks. Also, I can't believe that the story of the Texan intern who stole and sold lunar samples from NASA and then had sex on top of them with his girlfriend [wikipedia.org] so that they were the first people to have sex on the moon was left out of this article.

I'm guessing they're not missing but rather have long been stolen and sold on the black market.

Re:Very Rare Regolith Missing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318648)

Yeah so these things are worth millions of dollars (to collectors and researchers alike) and you call them "missing"? Perhaps 'stolen' would be a better word considering the worth of these rocks.

I'm guessing

Yes, yes you are. They don't know what's happened to the rocks, so "missing" is quite clearly the best word.

Re:Very Rare Regolith Missing? (2)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318666)

Maybe,

the "people" they stole them from, took them back home.

Re:Very Rare Regolith Missing? (5, Insightful)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318826)

Gee, lets look around for the missing moon rocks. Hay NASA, there's a big ball of them above our collective heads. Go there and get some more.

Old NASA was well run? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318928)

People talk about NASA in the time of the Apollo program as a well oiled machine that could do no wrong. Well, here's evidence that it was a bureaucratic disaster. It's easy to look back with rose colored glasses and say the shuttle era was a mess, but in reality maybe it was always that way?

Re:Old NASA was well run? (4, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38319056)

People talk about NASA in the time of the Apollo program as a well oiled machine that could do no wrong. Well, here's evidence that it was a bureaucratic disaster. It's easy to look back with rose colored glasses and say the shuttle era was a mess, but in reality maybe it was always that way?

Bureaucracies are always a mess. Strip the facade behind any complicated human activity and you will find confusion, graft, incompetence and sloth. NASA has 'lost' lots of things - Apollo tapes, pieces parts, data. They've made grevious engineering errors (ie, Apollo 1 [wikipedia.org] ).

Archival processes are very expensive and when you are more focused about doing things than preserving what you did, it isn't surprising that you can't account for everything.

Old NASA was well run. (5, Insightful)

dtmos (447842) | more than 2 years ago | (#38319188)

No, back in the day it was exactly the opposite. Everyone was totally focused on one goal -- getting to the Moon by 31 December 1969. Since neither the task at hand nor the time to complete it were changing, plenty of people were hired and plenty of money was spent, to be sure, but that situation also meant that any bureaucratic baloney was ignored, sidestepped, or waived. People's reputations were on the line, and nobody wanted to be part of the group/division/company/organization that kept the country from reaching the moon first. Whoever was deemed responsible for that could look forward to a lifetime of testimony before congressional investigative committees, not to mention the nation on a never-ending series of Walter Cronkite prime time Special Reports.

Not to mention not being able to get another job in your profession for the rest of your life. Being Steve Bartman [wikipedia.org] would be a step up.

After 1973, however, NASA was a different entity. When a pie is growing, as NASA was in the 1960s, nobody bothers to erect any bureaucratic fences, since there's plenty of work for everyone. When the pie shrinks, however, people start trying to stake out their remaining territory, and the end is near.

Re:Very Rare Regolith Missing? (-1, Troll)

jo42 (227475) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318714)

More likely Congress critters (especially Republicantards) have been replacing their brains with moon rocks.

Given the dumbshite they've been up to since the '70s, this has to be the reason. Nothing else explains the stupidity - other than greed.

Re:Very Rare Regolith Missing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318774)

Bring out the well-developed Democratic sense of caring and empathy and lack of any hatred at all!

Re:Very Rare Regolith Missing? (2)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318782)

Not all were stolen. http://news.yahoo.com/former-resident-sues-claim-alaska-moon-rocks-071955850.html [yahoo.com]

If this is a real moon rock someone just threw it away at one point. One person's valuable rock worth millions is another thing you can just pick up outside.

Re:Very Rare Regolith Missing? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38319350)

Not all were stolen. http://news.yahoo.com/former-resident-sues-claim-alaska-moon-rocks-071955850.html [yahoo.com]

If this is a real moon rock someone just threw it away at one point. One person's valuable rock worth millions is another thing you can just pick up outside.

It's all probably very Gary Larson-esque - the fat kid with the crew cut and circular glasses, who cleans up at night, swept them up and put them all in the bin. Nobody likes an untidy lab.

The only Moon rocks I've seen were already cut in very fine slices and placed in plastic holders. So moon "rocks" may be imprecise, Moon Samples is probably better.

Re:Very Rare Regolith Missing? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318828)

Why don't they just get ILM to make them some new ones?

Re:Very Rare Regolith Missing? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38319416)

Why don't they just get ILM to make them some new ones?

Pfft. ILM can't do a decent rock to save their lives. Not only does the first one come out with a lot of unknown minerals, except one old salt who hasn't done nowt in years, but the others are spread out over years and years and then there's a big break while the ones they've already made get a bit spiffed up unecessarily, but then the pre-rocks come out and nobody even likes them, including the green one, which everyone says reflects poorly on a certain bit of strata.

Don't even get me started on Dreamworks rocks, they all have to have some stupid blue-white lightning all over them.

I wouldn't worry too much about it (3, Funny)

warrax_666 (144623) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318866)

I'm sure there are billions and billions of moon rocks out there.

Re:Very Rare Regolith Missing? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38319016)

I wouldn't trust much from someone trying to sell a book. The article I read said it was three and half ounces of rock.

I know where they keep the stuff. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318426)

There's a huge source of moon-rocks around here somewhere.

Re:I know where they keep the stuff. (2)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318790)

Funny, I was thinking the same thing. We *can* get more.

Re:I know where they keep the stuff. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318924)

Question is whether or not you can still afford to get more. Will probably be cheaper to buy them from China in 10 years or so.

Re:I know where they keep the stuff. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38319550)

Yeah, but they'll be counterfeit.

Lack of sufficient controls.... (5, Insightful)

sound+vision (884283) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318430)

I think it's more of the lack of a sufficient space program that'll lose us "unique resources."

Sex On The Moon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318454)

In 2002, three NASA interns found and stole moon rocks that were stored in a safe at the Johnson Space Center lab in Houston.
They later tried to sell them online after sprinkling them on their bed and having sex on it.

Re:Sex On The Moon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318674)

Revenge of the Nerds - Moonwalk scene.

Re:Sex On The Moon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318842)

In 2002, three NASA interns found and stole moon rocks that were stored in a safe at the Johnson Space Center lab in Houston.
They later tried to sell them online after sprinkling them on their bed and having sex on it.

You convince your girlfriend to go along with your kinky fantasy, and *thats* where you went with it? Talk about opportunity wasted.

Re:Sex On The Moon (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318920)

"Three"? Wow, didn't know NASA interns were that kinky...

Moonstone for Elven and Glass Armor (1)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318456)

I know where they are, the Elves took them.

Cave Johnson (3, Funny)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318670)

Nah, we learned that moon regolith is the perfect material for shooting a portal gun at. Quoth Cave Johnson:

Welcome to the enrichment center. Since making test participation mandatory for all employees, the quality of our test subjects has risen dramatically. Employee retention, however, has not. As a result, you may have heard we're gonna phase out human testing. There's still a few things left to wrap up though - first up, conversion gel. Now, the beancounters told me we literally could not afford to buy $7 worth of moon rocks, much less 70 million. Bought 'em anyway. Ground them up, mixed them into a gel, and guess what: ground-up moon rocks are pure poison.

Clearly that's where it all went.

Re:Cave Johnson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38319366)

I saw the title and KNEW that Cave Johnson would be metioned in the comments. (posting anonymously to keep the mod on parent)

Re:Cave Johnson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38319962)

as soon as I saw the title I did a ctrl+f to find where they started talking about cave johnson

Simple solution (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318484)

Go get more. The reason nobody was paying much attention in the 1960's is that they never expected the supply of moon rocks would dwindle. We need to maintain permanent residence whatever we go. We went to the moon, we need to establish a base there. If we go to mars, we need to establish a permanent base there too. If we don't force ourselves down this path, we're never going to get off this rock.

Don't worry (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318492)

We can ask Elon Musk to pick up a few on the way when he retires on Mars in his space bungalow. Bahahahaaaa!!!!!!! Or any of the many, many successful private space companies that have sent entire cities to Pluto and beyond.

You fucking delusional fruitcakes.

Bissell Vacumm lady (1)

turtleAJ (910000) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318494)

Anybody has cared to check the vacuum's bags?

Recovery plan (0)

mholve (1101) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318512)

1) Release press statement that those samples were all fake
2) Watch eBay for auctions of said "fakes"
3) Profit!

Less than 2%? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318528)

Correct me if I am wrong, but 500 out of over 26k samples is a very very small portion of the samples they have. While I am sure the value, both financially and as to how they could contribute to science, could vary greatly between each individual sample, this doesn't appear to be some terrible blundering of recordkeeping.

Unique? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318538)

There are 73 trillion tons of moon rock that /haven't/ been stolen. I'd hardly call it unique :p

Unique? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318552)

Hardly unique, there's a wacking great big planet that you can see every night with lots more rocks. Just go pick a few!

500 or so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318570)

They loaned out over 26,000 of these, and that's all that's gone missing? That's not bad at all. Maybe they should go into the mortgage business.

The story that really irked me is the scientist who just had it sitting on his desk for years and years, and never bothered to do any research.

Re:500 or so? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318704)

They loaned out over 26,000 of these, and that's all that's gone missing? That's not bad at all. Maybe they should go into the mortgage business.

The story that really irked me is the scientist who just had it sitting on his desk for years and years, and never bothered to do any research.

How much more research could you possibly do beyond "Yup, it's a rock."?

Re:500 or so? (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318904)

How much more research could you possibly do beyond "Yup, it's a rock."?

Surface structure, chemical composition, searching for embedded items (micrometeorites?), trying to make some sort of concrete out of it to build a moon base from, helping to determine age / history of that moon area, etc, etc, etc.

For some research a surrogate might do, but then you'd still have to compare with the real thing once in a while. Since we have so little actual moon material, of course that is worth its weight in gold (well no, much more actually since only way to obtain more is to go back to the moon - pretty expensive undertaking).

Re:500 or so? (2)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#38320306)

How much more research could you possibly do beyond "Yup, it's a rock."?

Surface structure, chemical composition, searching for embedded items (micrometeorites?), trying to make some sort of concrete out of it to build a moon base from, helping to determine age / history of that moon area, etc, etc, etc.

For some research a surrogate might do, but then you'd still have to compare with the real thing once in a while. Since we have so little actual moon material, of course that is worth its weight in gold (well no, much more actually since only way to obtain more is to go back to the moon - pretty expensive undertaking).

Everything you've listed either has been done with other samples, wouldn't be useful, or would result in the destruction of the sample.
So if some scientist had one sitting on his desk for ages and did nothing with it, I'd say he made the right choice. It's most valuable uses are as a paperweight or as a conversation starter with dumb chicks you want to bang.

Re:500 or so? (1)

AaronLS (1804210) | more than 2 years ago | (#38319646)

Exactly what I thought. So they lost like 2% of their stock over 30 year period. That's like a 20th of one percent per year. Surely there's room for improvement given the cost involved in recovering material from the moon, but it's not like they've done a horrible job.

Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318580)

I guess we need to go get some more, then!

Whats so unique? (1)

h2okies (1203490) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318600)

"increases the risk that these unique resources may be lost," the report concluded.'" There are a few million lbs where we got these...lets just go back and get some.....

Re:Whats so unique? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318792)

Upvote this.

Re:Whats so unique? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318970)

Sadly they'd probably opt for the cheaper less exciting of sending a rover with a spade on the front.

Re:Whats so unique? (1)

DamienNightbane (768702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38319740)

Not if we can convince them of the economy of scale that three dudes with shovels and burlap sacks can provide.

it's not as if they can't go fetch some more... (5, Insightful)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318626)

is it?

Back in the 1960's they had to start with a clean board and design the technology in less than a DECADE to fulfill the promise made by a dead president.

Now we have the knowhow, we have the technology, what's the single insurmountable obstacle to returning to our nearest solar neighbour?

Politics.

It's not even as if the technology has been locked away and forgotten, either. NASA's new launch vehicles will have first stage boosters based on the J2 engines. The manned capsules will be based on the Gemini and Apollo capsules. The Mercury-Atlas and Gemini booster stages are still in use for heavy lifting high-risk and military payloads. It just seems a sad waste to me, that such high adventure was shitcanned so fast after all those "firsts" - landing on the Moon, walking on the Moon, driving on the Moon, playing golf on the Moon. Was all that really done just to piss off the Russians? I have a difficult time putting it down to merely that. Our destiny is in space. We shouldn't let petty disagreements over distribution of finite resources stand in the way of that, or we as a species will die in our crib.

Re:it's not as if they can't go fetch some more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318822)

You know what else we had back then? Nazis [xkcd.com] .

Re:it's not as if they can't go fetch some more... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318944)

The rocket scientists weren't nazis first and foremost. They were guys who wanted to be rocket scientists so badly they were willing to sell out to nazis.

Not that it makes them good people. Just sayin'. So perhaps the punchline should be, "find somebody who cares so much about their craft that they'll damn morality all to hell so they can practice it".

Re:it's not as if they can't go fetch some more... (2)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318850)

NASA's new launch vehicles will have first stage boosters based on the J2 engines.

The J-2X is intended for upper stage stuff.You're thinking of the Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) which is a different beast.

Re:it's not as if they can't go fetch some more... (1)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318894)

Amen!

Re:it's not as if they can't go fetch some more... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38319224)

I hate to piss in the punch bowl, but space is pretty boring and planetary bodies even more so. How many times can you visit the moon and frolic in the dirt before it becomes obvious you're just wasting money? Same goes for Mars really, if we ever get a human there they won't be able to do any more than they already did on the moon. Maybe collect a few rocks, dig some holes, analyze some samples to find out that sure enough the planet is lifeless and desolate as it looked from space. We're going to a lot of trouble to prove the same thing over and over to ourselves, that Earth is pretty rare and special.

If you want to find life, go down to the beach and dig around in the sand a little. At least there you have the chance of witnessing some stingrays, crustaceans, and maybe a little tail sunbathing.

The problem is: No Nazis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38319264)

Yes, this is going to be a xkcd reference:

http://xkcd.com/984/

Without Nazis who do it for them, they cannot do it. D'uh. Good luck reaching Mars!

Re:it's not as if they can't go fetch some more... (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38319988)

what's the single insurmountable obstacle to returning to our nearest solar neighbour?

Patrick Dempsey.

honestly? (2)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318632)

just as long as the government has a slightly better handle on where all the plutonium is (contemporaneous cold war artifact)

i'm not too concered about escape dusty basalt

math (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318642)

"missing for 30 years"... "missing since 1970"... [current year: 2011] ...doesn't that mean that they've been missing for over 40 years?

Re:math (1)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | more than 2 years ago | (#38319268)

Maybe the 30 years weren't consecutive. For example, they could gone missing in 1970, been found in 1985, and lost again in 1995.

Not surprised (4, Funny)

whatkey (2514316) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318656)

A government agency and insufficient internal controls? I'm actually surprised that the audit didn't turn up missing spacecrafts.

Well, thats it. (1)

BigSes (1623417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318660)

God knows, we won't be getting anymore at anytime soon, if ever. Better keep better track of whatever we have left.

huh? (3, Informative)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318662)

Um... why would they report the number as "500" and include 218 samples that were "returned". Wouldn't those, by definition, no longer be "lost"?

Thats nearly half.... so only 282 missing,

Re:huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318836)

Which means they have lost ~1.2% of those they loaned out. Granted moon rocks are a rather special type of item, but I would like to see that percentage compared to library books, museum items in general, munitions, or even cash in financial institutions.

I use to keep better track... (-1, Offtopic)

Bocaj (84920) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318680)

I use to keep better track of the moon rocks, but then I took an arrow to the knee.

Re:I use to keep better track... (1)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38319320)

Keep your hands to yourself, sneak-thief.

Possibly Intentional (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318682)

I've worked for companies that, for book keeping reasons, would not let you as an employee take a single thing for personal possession. However, if an item was old and no longer usable, management would "turn a blind eye" if you walked out the door with it. Honestly, if it was large enough, they would help you usher it out the door.

I know moon rocks aren't the same but I wonder how many items were "lost" to the hands of astronauts and key mission controllers because they frickin' changed the world in being part of the process and NASA felt they deserved a small chunk of history.

I'm not saying it's right, but I also wouldn't want to prosecution Neil Armstrong if he left his office on his last day with a palm sized moon rock from the Apollo 11 mission, tucked away in a coffee mug.

Re:Possibly Intentional (4, Interesting)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318870)

Short answer: of course.

There was a bar near the Johnson Space Center in Houston called The Outpost. It was torn down this year, but when the place was jumping you had a reasonable chance of finding some old guy who would be happy to show you his collection of space artifacts, including lunar samples.

Sorry, this is no good, could you repeat that? (1)

Grindalf (1089511) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318718)

Sssshay that again son? You were playing hookie with what? Phone the FBI please, at your earliest convenience if not sooner. (It's a case of “It's your badge son ”)

Is this a valid reason to go back to the Moon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318724)

We need more Moon rocks?

I wonder how much money they could raise if they pre-auctioned off Moon rocks to the public from a future space flight?

Re:Is this a valid reason to go back to the Moon? (2)

phil_aychio (2438214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318786)

Why not just take some of the bigger moon rocks that they have and break them up to replenish those that are missing?

Even worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318746)

Washington University in St. Louis has some. Because they are so special, the entire fifth floor is under lock and key. In fact, the university tried to give the rocks back several times to NASA. However, NASA doesn't "remember" that they gave them to the University and won't take them back. Imagine the universities position!

Obligatory (1)

scuzzlebutt (517123) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318764)

That's no moon. Rock.

I can only wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318776)

What other pieces of the movie set are missing?

Oh Waa, NASA Doesn't Have Any More Moon Rocks! :( (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318808)

My child at the ripe old age of 4, figured this one out. Hay NASA! Get up, off you lazy excuse ridden ass, and go get some more! Time Out! One Minute, if front of all your preschool friends! And stop wasting your parents time.

Re:Oh Waa, NASA Doesn't Have Any More Moon Rocks! (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38319144)

Yeah, it's NASA's fault~

Please explain to your son congress controls that, and tell him it's important to vote for people who understand how critical space exploration is.

Re:Oh Waa, NASA Doesn't Have Any More Moon Rocks! (1)

DamienNightbane (768702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38319812)

How about we just ignore Congress and go anyway? If Congress doesn't have to use real money, why should NASA?

Re:Oh Waa, NASA Doesn't Have Any More Moon Rocks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38320112)

Pfft, at that point, you might as well explain that his vote will be meaningless, unless he has the mountains of money needed to convince the proles to do something other than what the TV tells them to do.

Easy to find.... (1)

david.a.judge (1973214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318810)

.... Check eBay.

Re:Easy to find.... (1)

phil_aychio (2438214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318858)

a search on craigslist for "moon rock" bring back 282 results

And we all know NASA will never get more (4, Interesting)

NReitzel (77941) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318824)

So, out of eight hundred kilos of moon rocks, some beancounter at NASA is having apoplexy about a half-kilo of rocks not having proper paperwork to document where they have gone?

He's right. These samples are unique. As long as the bureaucrats rule, NASA doesn't have a chance in Hell of going back and collecting another 800 kilos of rocks. This guy knows that these samples are irreplacible becasue he knows that NASA will never be able to do what they did back when engineers called most of the shots.

Let him rant. Just like rare earth metals, in a few years we will be able to buy all the moon rocks we want, from the Chinese.

Missing Moonrocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318832)

Check with GlaDOS and Wheatley... That was the last place I heard of them ;-)
And get into the holiday spirit at http://aperturescience.com/

Plenty more... (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318856)

...where they came from

Use them to wipe out the deficit (1)

strangeattraction (1058568) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318896)

Why don't we sell or lease them and wipe out the deficit. Win Win for American public and capitalism.

Little Critters (1)

Identita (1256932) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318906)

Oh my God, look what happened to Apollo 18!!! Now my grandmother is going get attacked since I left that rock on her desk! Quick call the NSA

Re:Little Critters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38319526)

Only one Apollo 18 post... I am saddened by this, it was a decent horror movie.....

"Missing" Moon Rocks? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318926)

From what I understand NASA was handing Moon Rocks out like party favors back during the Apollo missions because they though that space/moon travel was going to become commonplace. Unfortunately things changed and now these rocks are a precious commodity. Because they were handed out in such a cavalier manor I find this whole "they're government property" claim to be rather dubious. Its like some rich guy handing out hundred dollar bills while he's swimming in money, and when hard times hit he claims all of that money was temporary loans because he verbally joked with some people that they owed him the money back.

Aperture Science (1)

Joe Jay Bee (1151309) | more than 2 years ago | (#38318940)

They had to make that conversion gel somehow.

Can someone say cover up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318952)

This is just part of the vast cover up that is the faked moon landings. Of course the rocks are missing we never got them!

A Sad, sad state of affairs (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38318976)

I have never understood why the United States does not have a Museum of the Moon - just for the moon and NOTHING ELSE. For God's sake, it's the only other planet people have walked on.
All of the stuff we brought back from that other planet and all of the stuff we used to get there and back should be showcased for everyone in the world to see. The moon rocks should be right up there with the Constitution or Old Ironsides. Heck, those things should be enshrined like pieces of the True Cross. THIS IS THE BIGGEST THING THAT MAN HAS EVER DONE. The artifacts of that accomplishment should not be treated like a rock collection.

Mice took it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38319004)

And ate it. They thought it was cheese.

Having been into the lunar sample vault... (5, Interesting)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#38319046)

I did an internship with a space industry contractor in the summer of 2005 and worked alongside their DBAs, mostly working on the database that was being used for inventory management. Partway through the summer, the lab in charge of the lunar material contacted the group I was working with regarding an update to their database. They wanted to migrate everything they had from the, I believe, late '70s DEC machines that they were still running with a hierarchal database system I had never heard of (I recall seeing some output that looked vaguely COBOL-like) to MS SQL Server 2000. There had been a failed attempt to migrate to FoxPro sometime in the early '90s, from what I heard, but they had scrapped it and just stayed with what they had in the end. At the time they were calling us, they were worried that something might fail and that they'd lose it all.

In order to better understand their organizational system, we got to don bunny suits and head into the vault where all of the samples are kept at Johnson Space Center. It was pretty fun getting a chance to go around, peek into cabinets, and just see how it was all stored in perfect condition. Since the samples they loan out to scientists need to have their origins tracked and new samples are created by breaking old ones, the samples are labeled with an increasingly long identifier as they are broken down. To give a quick (and slightly oversimplified) example, an initial sample brought back from the moon may have been labeled A. After it was broken in two, the two samples were A-1 and A-2. When the first one was broken in three, it became A-1-a, A-1-b, and A-1-c. Each of those is referred to as a sample, even though they may have originated from a single sample, and since samples can be created outside of the immediate vicinity of NASA's personnel, it's not really surprising that some samples have gone missing. Hell, NASA requires that every speck of dust be returned as a sample as well.

At the time, I think they had said that roughly 90 or 95% of the samples brought back are still in pristine, untouched condition, and are being preserved in a nitrogen-rich atmosphere to prevent oxidation. So even with all of these samples lost, the vast majority of it still exists and has yet to be studied by anyone.

Also, I didn't realize it, but NASA has all of the samples that the Soviets brought back from the moon with their unmanned lunar missions. Those are kept in one part of the vault, separate from the ones retrived by the American missions. Neat little fact that I didn't know at the time that I went into the vault.

Re:Having been into the lunar sample vault... (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 2 years ago | (#38319314)

Also, I didn't realize it, but NASA has all of the samples that the Soviets brought back from the moon with their unmanned lunar missions. Those are kept in one part of the vault, separate from the ones retrived by the American missions. Neat little fact that I didn't know at the time that I went into the vault.

Wonder how that happened ...

"Hey, anyone speak Russian? I've got a "Boris" on the phone here. I think he's saying something about trading rocks for a green card and a bottle of vodka ..."

I need them for my (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38319118)

googlephonics system.

Lost? Yeah right (1)

zmooc (33175) | more than 2 years ago | (#38319138)

That's what I'd say if I'd led the world to believe I brought back lots of rocks from the moon while they were in fact little moonturtles that simply escaped from my lab.

Facts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38319156)

There's a secret space program that shits on NASA. Your tax dollars fund it, but you aren't allowed to know about it.

This is why I laugh at the most pitiful stupid shit like this.

moon rock? Prove it (1)

buback (144189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38319266)

"Wanna see my moon rock? take a look at that!"
"What do you mean it looks like a piece of gravel from the driveway?"
"Where did i get it? off ebay, why?"

end scene:
So the whole point of having a moon rock is showing it off, like a diamond. The act of proving it's a moon rock (e.g. sending it to a lab for testing) would probably end with it being confiscated from you. If you can't prove it's a moon rock, it might as well be any old piece of gravel, of which we have trillions right hear on earth.

So, ask the Russians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38319308)

Maybe they'll build another Luna 16. [wikipedia.org]

Punishment (2)

pesho (843750) | more than 2 years ago | (#38319444)

I suggest NASA be immediately punished by being made to go back on the moon and get enough rocks to replace the ones they lost.

Well are they using them for anything? (1)

Nationless (2123580) | more than 2 years ago | (#38319538)

Well are they using them for anything or are they just sitting in warehouses gathering dust? Because I wouldn't feel too bad stealing a moon rock which isn't currently doing any good or garnering any attention in some box Raiders-of-the-lost-ark-style. If I knew they were actively being used for Science(tm) then I would be a whole lot more apprehensive about it.

From the article:
In two cases, one researcher still had nine lunar samples he borrowed 35 years ago and another had 10 chunks of meteorites he kept for 14 years. Neither had ever worked on them. Another researcher had 36 moon samples and kept them for 16 years after he had finished his research.

It doesn't exactly sound like they're in very high demand for research either... They're just novelties at this point. Just focus on getting us some Mars rocks that we can catalogue and promptly forgotten about.

I know where start... (1)

chinton (151403) | more than 2 years ago | (#38319802)

Is NASA sure Edgar Mitchell doesn't have them, too?

Cat litter (2)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 2 years ago | (#38319822)

I'm just hoping they won't end in a litterbox.

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