Norway lunar sample displays
The Norway 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 Kingdom of Norway by United States President Richard Nixon as goodwill gifts.
The Norway 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 Norwegian flag that was taken to the moon and back on Apollo 11.
The 4 "moon rocks" weigh about 0.05 grams in total. They 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 Norwegian flag that had been taken to the moon and back on Apollo 11, which lies directly below the "goodwill moon rocks". The small podium plaque display was given to the people of the country of Norway as a gift by United States President Richard Nixon. Similar tiny Apollo 11 "moon rocks" displays were also distributed to 134 other countries worldwide and to all 50 states of the United States and its territories. A similar display was also given to the United Nations.
The Norway Apollo 17 lunar sample display commemorative style plaque (10 by 14 inches) consists of one "moon rock" particle specimen that was cut from lunar basalt 70017 and a Norwegian 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 Norwegian 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 country of Norway as he did that year to 134 other countries (the same as for the Apollo 11 plaque gifts). This was done as a goodwill gesture to promote peace and harmony.
The Apollo 11 goodwill display given to Norway was placed in the Norwegian University of Science and Technology Museum of Science (also known as NTNU) geological collection at Trondheim, Norway. The delivery of the Apollo 11 "moon rocks" display was addressed to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology Museum of Science director and accepted by Hans Jørgen Lønne, the administrator director of the museum at the time.
The Norway Apollo 11 "goodwill moon rocks" display was for several years at the administrator director's office and believed to have been lost. The search for the Norway Apollo 11 commemorative plaque display was initiated in 1998 by Joseph Gutheinz, then an employee at NASA, who placed an advertisement in USA Today looking for illegal moon rocks that others had. When the Norwegian plaque display was found, it was considered too valuable to be kept in the administrator director's office and was transferred to a vault in the museum's archives. The display has been exhibited on only a few occasions in the past four decades. It has written at the bottom of the podium plaque display the wording on a label: Presented to the People of Norway by Richard Nixon, President of the United States of America. The display is currently not for public presentation, but kept in the museum's archives vault, since it is believed safer there than on public display. A Norwegian online publication reports that the Norway Apollo 11 "goodwill moon rocks" plaque display is at NTNU Trondheim Science Museum, as confirmed by the collection manager of Archaeology and cultural history.
The Norway Apollo 17 "goodwill moon rocks" plaque display is exhibited at the geological collection of the Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo. The Apollo 17 plaque display is within a glass case that has an alarm on it.
- 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.
- Hårsaker, Karstein (February 27, 2012). "What does Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and "moon rocks" have to do with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology Museum of Science?" (in Norwegian). Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
- Haugnes, Gunhild (24. 26 February 2012). "The two first men on the moon, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, took rock samples to Earth. Now it turns out that one of these is the Science Museum in Trondheim". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). Retrieved November 2, 2012.
- Fighter, Gunhild (21 February 2012). "238 pounds slabs from the Apollo missions is gone". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). Retrieved November 2, 2012.
- Haugnes, Gunhild (26 February 2012). "Moon Rock from Apollo 11 in Trondheim". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). Retrieved November 9, 2012.
- Fighter, Gunhild (21 February 2012). "Norwegian moonstone worth tens of millions". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). Retrieved November 2, 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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