Hawaii lunar sample displays
The Hawaii lunar sample displays are two commemorative plaques consisting of small fragments of moon specimen brought back with the Apollo 11 and Apollo 17 lunar missions and given in the 1970s to the people of the state of Hawaii by United States President Richard Nixon as goodwill gifts.
The Hawaii Apollo 11 lunar sample display commemorative podium style plaque consists of four "moon rock" rice-size particle specimens that were collected by Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in 1969 and a small Hawaii state flag that was taken to the moon and back on Apollo 11.
The 4 "moon rocks" weigh about 0.05 grams total and are encased in a clear plastic button the size of a coin which is mounted to a wooden board approximately one foot square on a small podium pedestal display. The small podium plaque display also has mounted on it a small Hawaii state flag that had been taken to the moon and back, which lies directly below the "goodwill moon rocks". The small podium plaque display was given to the people of the state of Hawaii as a gift by President Richard Nixon. Similar lunar sample displays were also distributed to all the other states of the United States and all the countries (at the time) of the world.
The Hawaii Apollo 17 lunar sample display commemorative style plaque, measuring 10 by 14 inches, consists of one "moon rock" particle specimen that was cut from lunar basalt 70017 and a Hawaii state flag. The basalt 70017 was collected by Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt on the moon in 1972. Once lunar basalt 70017 was brought back to earth from the moon, the basalt moon rock was cut up into small fragments of approximately 1 gram. The specimen was encased in a plastic ball and mounted on the wooden plaque along with the Hawaii state flag which had been taken to the moon and back by the crew of Apollo 17. The plaque was then distributed in 1973 by President Richard Nixon to the state of Hawaii as he did that year to the other 49 states (the same as for the Apollo 11 plaque gifts). This was done as a goodwill gesture to promote peace and harmony.
Joseph Gutheinz, a former NASA employee and self-appointed private investigator of the Apollo lunar sample displays, reported in 2009 that he didn't have a clue where Hawaii's Apollo 11 or Apollo 17 "goodwill moon rocks" plaque displays were. The missing exhibits were pointed out to him by a reporter of the Honolulu Advertiser. A representative of the Hawaii Governor's office said the "goodwill moon rocks" displays were never taken from their premises but were securely tucked away. The display was so well secured that through decades of time and the turnover of personnel, the exact location in the governor's offices of the State Capitol had long been forgotten.
Hawaii's governor's office records showed they were keeping both the Apollo 11 and Apollo 17 "goodwill moon rocks" plaque displays in a secured cabinet, but the records did not indicate in which cabinet the "moon rocks" – valued up to $10 million on the black market – were stashed. The plaques were ultimately found in January 2010 in locked cabinets in the Executive Chambers at the State Capitol during an annual inventory of gifts to the State of Hawaii. A senior adviser for the governor's office said they knew all along they were there someplace. This information was relayed back to Gutheinz, who updated his tracking and reporting websites to reflect this. The Apollo 11 and Apollo 17 lunar displays are now in the Hawaii State Archives, but not on exhibit.
- Pearlman, Robert (1999-2012). "Where today are the Apollo 11 goodwill lunar sample displays?". collectspace.com. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
- Pearlman, Robert (1999-2012). "Where today are the Apollo 17 goodwill lunar sample displays". collectspace.com. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
- "Moon rocks from first and last Apollo missions turn up in locked cabinet". Hawaii Star Tribune (Honolulu, Hawaii). January 12, 2012. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
- "Hawaii's missing moon rocks found". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. January 11, 2010. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
- Atkinson, Nancy (January 14, 2010). "Searching for Moon Rocks Here on Earth". Universe Today. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
- Earth (magazine), March 2011, pp. 42-51
- "Hawaii's missing $10m Moon rocks are finally found". 2010 News Archive. Paul Fraser Collectibles. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
- Hoover, Will (January 11, 2010). "Missing moon rocks turn up". Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
- Hoover, Will (October 23, 2009). "Hawaii's moon rocks go missing". Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
- Kloc, Joe (February 19, 2012). The Case of the Missing Moon Rocks. The Atavist/Amazon Digital Services, Inc. p. 47. ASIN B007BGZNZ8.
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