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[i]Alaska's historic moon rocks, collected by Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in 1969, are back in NASA's custody.
Now, Alaska State Museums Curator Bob Banghart says he'd like to see them back in an Alaska museum.
"They belong to the state of Alaska, and they belong in the museum's collection," said Banghart, who has been following the case of the moon rocks for years.
...Coleman Anderson sued the state, claiming he owned the rocks and wanted to be declared the legitimate owner. The Alaska Attorney General's Office, representing the museum, is disputing the claim.
...Assistant Attorney General Neil Slotnick represents the museum in the case. He was unavailable Thursday but presented a summary of the case to the Board of Education recently.
Slotnick said that Anderson's claim of how he came to possess the moon rocks did not convey ownership of the rocks.
"He claimed that after the fire he found the plaque in the rubble and debris at the museum site, and that he saved it from destruction," Slotnick said.
Whether that account holds sway with the court will be decided later, but Slotnick said the state was successful in getting a court order to force Anderson to turn the moon rocks over to NASA for verification and safekeeping until eventual ownership is established.
Anderson first objected, saying the rocks were overseas, but did comply with the order, Slotnick said.[/i]
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