Oregon lunar sample displays
The Oregon 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 Oregon by United States President Richard Nixon as goodwill gifts.
The Oregon Apollo 11 lunar sample display 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 Oregon state 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 Oregon 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 Oregon 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 Oregon 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 an Oregon 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 Oregon 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 Oregon 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.
Oregon Governor Tom McCall received the Oregon "goodwill moon rocks" plaque displays on behalf of the people of the state of Oregon. The Oregon Apollo 11 lunar sample display is exhibited in the governor's ceremonial office at the Oregon State Capitol in the reception area. According to a tour leader, it is a popular stopping-point at the Capitol building during a typical tour. Children who visit the Capitol building have a great interest in the Apollo 11 display.
The Oregon Apollo 17 "goodwill moon rock" commemorative plaque display was thought to be missing. There were rumors that a professor (now deceased) at the University of Oregon had the display in his possession at one time, but lost the display or kept it for himself. This rumor has never been confirmed. In 2009 a professor in the Oregon University geological sciences department said that the rumor actually referred to moon specimens loaned by NASA to three Oregon scientists for their analysis, and did not refer to the gifted Oregon Apollo 17 "goodwill moon rock" commemorative plaque display. According to moon rocks researcher Robert Pearlman, the Oregon Apollo 17 "goodwill moon rock" plaque display is on permanent exhibit in the Earth Science Hall of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland.
- 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.
- Lynn, Capi (14 February 2010). "A Few Specks From Moon Spark Search Across Earth". Statesman Journal, p. C.1. ISSN 0739-5507
- 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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