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Where today are the Apollo 17 Goodwill Moon Rocks?

Prior to the end of their third and final moonwalk, Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt paused to make a special dedication:

Eugene Cernan: Houston, before we close out our [moonwalk], we understand that there are young people in Houston today who have been effectively touring our country, young people from countries all over the world, respectively, touring our country. They had the opportunity to watch the launch of Apollo 17; hopefully had an opportunity to meet some of our young people in our country. And we'd like to say first of all, welcome, we hope you enjoyed your stay.

Second of all, I think probably one of the most significant things we can think about when we think about Apollo is that it has opened for us -- "for us" being the world -- a challenge of the future. The door is now cracked, but the promise of the future lies in the young people, not just in America, but the young people all over the world learning to live and learning to work together. In order to remind all the people of the world in so many countries throughout the world that this is what we all are striving for in the future, Jack has picked up a very significant rock, typical of what we have here in the valley of Taurus-Littrow.

It's a rock composed of many fragments, of many sizes, and many shapes, probably from all parts of the Moon, perhaps billions of years old. But fragments of all sizes and shapes -- and even colors -- that have grown together to become a cohesive rock, outlasting the nature of space, sort of living together in a very coherent, very peaceful manner. When we return this rock or some of the others like it to Houston, we'd like to share a piece of this rock with so many of the countries throughout the world. We hope that this will be a symbol of what our feelings are, what the feelings of the Apollo Program are, and a symbol of mankind: that we can live in peace and harmony in the future.

Harrison Schmitt: A portion of [this] rock will be sent to a representative agency or museum in each of the countries represented by the young people in Houston today, and we hope that they -- that rock and the students themselves -- will carry with them our good wishes, not only for the new year coming up but also for themselves, their countries, and all mankind in the future.

Three months after Apollo 17 returned home in December 1972, then-U.S. President Richard Nixon ordered the distribution of fragments from the rock that Cernan and Schmitt collected, since labeled sample 70017, to 135 foreign heads of state, the 50 U.S. states and its provinces. Each rock, encased in an acrylic button, was mounted to a plaque with intended recepient's flag, also flown to the Moon.

A letter, signed by President Nixon, accompanied the samples that were transferred to foreign heads of state. Dated March 21, 1973, it read as follows (as reproduced from the National Archives):

The Apollo lunar landing program conducted by the United States has been brought to a successful conclusion. Men from the planet Earth have reached the first milestone in space. But as we stretch for the stars, we know that we stand also upon the shoulders of many men of many nations here on our own planet. In the deepest sense our exploration of the moon was truly an international effort.

It is for this reason that, on behalf of the people of the United States I present this flag, which was carried to the moon, to the State, and its fragment of the moon obtained during the final lunar mission of the Apollo program.

If people of many nations can act together to achieve the dreams of humanity in space, then surely we can act together to accomplish humanity's dream of peace here on earth. It was in this spirit that the Untied States of America went to the moon, and it is in this spirit that we look forward to sharing what we have done and what we have learned with all mankind.

Distribution of the Goodwill rock

Once gifted, each of the goodwill moon rock samples became the property of the recepient entity and therefore was no longer subject to being tracked by NASA. All other lunar samples' locations are well documented by the U.S. space agency to this day (with exception to similarly gifted Apollo 11 lunar sample displays).

As property of the nation or state, the goodwill rocks are now subject to the laws for public gifts as set by that country. In most cases, as in the United States, public gifts cannot be legally transferred to individual ownership without the passage of additional legislation.

Since 2002, collectSPACE has attempted to locate the current whereabouts of all the goodwill moon rocks. The following chart details those efforts.

Special gratitude is extended to former NASA Office of Inspector General special agent Joseph Gutheinz, who today as a professor at the University of Phoenix, Arizona, has challenged his students to locate the goodwill moon rocks.

Do you know the current status of a fragment of Sample 70017? Write us at moonrocks@collectspace.com


No.   Nation / State   Location / Status  

Photo

  Located By

291

 

China

 

Beijing Planetarium, Beijing (displayed without its plaque or flag, only half of the moon rock sample is on exhibit; the other half was repurposed by China's space program for study)

 

 

X. Zeng

Photo: CCTV

294

 

Afghanistan

 

 

 

295

 

Argentina

 

 

 

296

 

Australia

 

National Museum of Australia, Canberra, in storage

 

 

M. Dinn
K. Dougherty

Photo: T. Rodwell

297

 

Austria

 

Meteorite Hall, Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna

 

 

H. Raab

298

 

Bahamas

 

Government House, Nassau

 

 

L. Wong

299

 

Bahrain

 

Bahrain National Museum, Manama (unconfirmed)

 

 

B. Scribbins

300

 

Barbados

   

 

T. Sterling/
Associated Press

301

 

Belgium

   

 

T. Sterling/
Associated Press

302

 

Bolivia

 

Planetario Max Schreier, Universidad Mayor de San Andres, La Paz

 

 

G. Pereira

303

 

Brazil

 

Museu dom Diogo de Souza, Bagé (in September 2002, the museum briefly considered offering the moon rock for sale)

 

 

C. Grossmann

304

 

Canada

 

Canada Science and Technology Museum, on loan from the Canadian Museum of Nature (reference)

 
 

K. Glover
M. Picard
I. Danforth

305

 

Chad

 

 

 

306

 

Taiwan

 

 

 

307

 

Colombia

   

 

J. Russo

308

 

Costa Rica

 

Museo Nacional de Costa Rica, San Jose (in storage)

 

 

T. Sterling/
Associated Press

309

 

Dahomey

 

 

 

310

 

Denmark

 

Geological Museum, Natural History Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen

 

 

J. Kieffer-Olsen

311

 

Dominican Republic

   
 

E. Garcia

312

 

Ecuador

 

 

 

313

 

Egypt

 

Egyptian Geological Museum, Cairo

 

 

T. Sterling/
Associated Press

314

 

Congo Republic

 

 

 

315

 

El Salvador

   

 

C. Tamacas

316

 

Finland

   

 

K. Kinnunen

317

 

Gabon

 

 

 

318

 

W. Germany

   

 

H. Raab

319

 

Solomon Islands

 

Soloman Islands National Museum

 

 

G. Arndt

320

 

Guatemala

 

 

 

321

 

Guyana

 

National Museum of Guyana, Georgetown

 

 

D. Clay-Jordan

322

 

Haiti

 

 

 

323

 

Honduras

 

Acquired illegally and then smuggled into the U.S. in 1995; offered for sale for $5 million to undercover NASA agent and confiscated in 1998; returned to Honduras and now displayed at Centro Interactivo de Enseñanza Chiminike in Tegucigalpa

 

 

J. Gutheinz

324

 

Iceland

 

Recalled from the The Exploration Museum in Húsavík by the Icelandic Institute of Natural History in Garðabær due to security concerns (as of Sept. 2015).

 

ireland01

 

Ö. Örlygsson

325

 

India

   

 

D. Dasgupta/
Outlook

326

 

Indonesia

 

 

 

327

 

Iran

 

 

 

328

 

Ireland

 

National Museum of Ireland, Museum of Natural History, Dublin

 

ireland01

 

J. Gutheinz

329

 

Israel

 

 

 

330

 

Italy

   

 

T. Sterling/
Associated Press

331

 

Ivory Coast

 

 

 

332

 

Jamaica

 

 

 

333

 

Japan

   

 

T. Sterling/
Associated Press

334

 

Jordan

 

 

 

335

 

Khmer

 

 

 

336

 

Korea

   

 

Seo Sanghyeon

337

 

Lebanon

 

 

 

338

 

Liberia

 

 

 

339

 

Luxembourg

   

 

P. Buchholz

340

 

Malta

 

Reported stolen 5/2004; National Museum of Natural History, Mdina

 

 

341

 

Mexico

   

 

R. Zúñiga

342

 

Netherlands

   

 

E. Laan

343

 

New Zealand

 

Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington

 

 

344

 

Nicaragua

 

 

 

345

 

Niger

 

 

 

346

 

Nigeria

 

 

 

347

 

Norway

 

Geological Museum, Natural History Museum, Oslo

 

 

T. Sterling/
Associated Press
K. Persen

348

 

Pakistan

   

 

M. Constantine

349

 

Panama

 

 

 

350

 

Paraguay

 

Instituto de Historia y Museo Militar, Asunción

 

 

J. Russo

351

 

Peru

   

 

E. Ray

352

 

Philippines

 

 

 

353

 

Portugal

 

 

 

354

 

Qatar

 

 

 

355

 

Saudi Arabia

 

 

 

356

 

South Africa

   

 

L. McMullen

357

 

Spain

 

Museo Naval, Madrid since 2007; previously in a private collection

 

 

P. Jauregui
C. Keller

358

 

Swaziland

 

 

 

359

 

Switzerland

   

 

A. Teche

360

 

Tanzania

 

 

 

361

 

Thailand

 

 

 

362

 

Togo

 

 

 

363

 

Tunisia

 

 

 

364

 

Turkey

 

Mineral Research and Exploration (MTA) Natural History Museum, Ankara

 

 

365

 

United Kingdom

 

Treasures Cadogan Gallery, Natural History Museum, London

 

 

D. Gethings

366

 

Uruguay

 

Previously on display at the Aeronautical Museum in Montevideo; moved in 2011 to the Captain Boiso Lanza Air Base for safe keeping.

 

 

C. Alustiza

367

 

Venezuela

 

 

 

368

 

VietNam

 

 

 

369

 

Zambia

 

 

 

370

 

Algeria

 

 

 

371

 

Bhutan

 

 

 

372

 

Botswana

 

 

 

373

 

Bulgaria

   

 

L. Estébanez

374

 

Burma

 

 

 

375

 

Cameroon

 

 

 

376

 

Central African Republic

 

 

 

377

 

Mozambique

 

 

 

378

 

Cyprus

 

Never presented as a result of government coup; retained by U.S. Embassy in Cyprus; reported in 2003 by son of U.S. diplomat as in his custody. In May 2010, recovered by NASA Office of Inspector General.

 

 

379

 

Czechoslovakia

 

Held in the Archive of Prague Castle, Prague, Czech Republic (source)

 

 

V. Cerny

Photo: NOVA TV

380

 

Equatorial Guinea

 

 

 

381

 

Ethiopia

 

 

 

382

 

Fiji

 

 

 

383

 

France

   

 

T. Sterling/
Associated Press

384

 

Gambia

 

 

 

385

 

Ghana

 

 

 

386

 

Guinea Republic

 

 

 

387

 

Hungary

   

 

E. Ray

388

 

Kenya

 

 

 

389

 

Kuwait

 

 

 

390

 

Laos

 

"Haw Kham" Royal Palace Museum, Luang Prabang

 

 

T. Brattstrom

Photo: D. Smirnov

391

 

Lesotho

 

 

 

392

 

Libya

 

 

 

393

 

Madagascar

 

 

 

394

 

Malawi

 

 

 

395

 

Malaysia

 

 

 

396

 

Maldives

 

 

 

397

 

Mali

 

 

 

398

 

Mauritania

 

 

 

399

 

Mauritius

 

 

 

400

 

Morocco

 

 

 

401

 

Nepal

 

National Museum of Nepal, Kathmandu

 

 

T. Sterling/
Associated Press

402

 

Oman

 

 

 

403

 

Poland

   

 

T. Sterling/
M. Scislowska/
Associated Press

404

 

Romania

 

Reported among auctioned possessions of dictator Ceausescu

 

 

405

 

Rwanda

 

Kandt House Museum of Natural History, Kigali

 

 

C. Evans

406

 

Senegal

 

 

 

407

 

Sierra Leone

 

 

 

408

 

Singapore

   

 

C. Baaijens

409

 

Somali

 

 

 

410

 

Sri Lanka

 

Colombo National Museum, Colombo (in storage)

 

 

K. Ratnatunga

411

 

Sudan

 

 

 

412

 

Trinidad and Tobago

 

 

 

413

 

USSR

 

 

 

414

 

United Arab Emirates

 

Al Ain National Museum, Al Ain, Emirate of Abu Dhabi

 

 

F. Leuband

415

 

Upper Volta

 

 

 

416

 

Yemen

 

 

 

417

 

Yugoslavia

   

 

J. Igor

418

 

Zaire

 

 

 

420

 

Bangladesh

 

 

 

421

 

Liechtenstein

 

 

 

422

 

Monaco

 

 

 

423

 

Nauru

 

 

 

424

 

San Marino

 

 

 

425

 

Tonga

 

 

 

426

 

Vatican

 

Headquarters of the Vatican Observatory, Papal Gardens, Castel Gandolfo

 

 

G. Consolmagno
I. Danforth
Mgr. P. Wells
K. Horn

427

 

West Samoa

 

 

 

428

 

Chile

   

 

C. Gómez

429

 

Sweden

   

 

T. Johnson
P. Holmgren

       

239

 

Alabama

 

On permanent display at the Alabama Department of Archives and History in Montgomery (as of February 2014)

 

 

J. Malovets
J. Hardin

240

 

Alaska

   

 

J. Brooks

241

 

Arizona

 

Held in the collection of the University of Arizona Mineral Museum, Tucson

 

 

J. Malovets

242

 

Arkansas

 

Rediscovered in Sept. 2011 by an archivist at the Arkansas Studies Institute in Little Rock among former President Bill Clinton's gubernatorial papers. Now found, the moon rock is on display at the Museum of Discovery, Little Rock (since January 2012).

 

 

M. Hodges
S. Wire

243

 

California

 

San Diego Air and Space Museum, San Diego (previously in storage as a result of damage to its plaque in 1978 museum fire)

 

 

J. Gutheinz

244

 

Colorado

 

Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden

Discovered in June 2010 in the possession of former governor John Vanderhoof, who was in office when it was presented to the state.

 

 

R. Griffis

KMGH-TV

245

 

Connecticut

 

Museum of Connecticut History, State Library, Hartford

 

 

Y. Yeomans

246

 

Delaware

   

 

L. Marianiello
P. George/DFM News

247

 

Florida

 

Museum of Florida History, Tallahassee (in storage)

 

 

R. Griffis
K. Friedman

248

 

Georgia

   

 

M. Jetzer

249

 

Hawaii

 

Rediscovered after a routine gift inventory inside a cabinet in the Executive Chambers on the fifth floor of the Hawai'i State Capitol, Honolulu

 

 

J. Gutheinz
W. Hoover/ Honolulu Advertiser

250

 

Idaho

   

 

J. Newton

251

 

Illinois

   

 

L. Moore

252

 

Indiana

 

Indiana State Museum, Indianapolis (in storage)

 

 

J. McGauley

253

 

Iowa

   

 

J. Sahagun

254

 

Kansas

 

Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas, Lawrence

 

 

E. Ray

255

 

Kentucky

 

Challenger Learning Center of Kentucky, Hazard (as of February 2015; on loan from the Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort)

 

 

B. Officer

256

 

Louisiana

 

 

 

257

 

Maine

   

 

K. Larkin

258

 

Maryland

 

State Archives, Annapolis

 

 

J. Betancourt-Castano

259

 

Massachusetts

   

 

J. Gutheinz
C. Kirdahy

260

 

Michigan

 

 

 

261

 

Minnesota

 

Minnesota Historical Society, MN150 exhibit, St. Paul

 

 

J. Milella

Photo: Minnesota Historical Society

262

 

Mississippi

   

 

I. Washington

263

 

Missouri

 

Discovered in Dec. 2010 among Senator Kit Bond's Washington, D.C. archives and subsequently presented to Gov. Jay Nixon.

Now in the custody of the Missouri State Museum, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City

 

 

264

 

Montana

   

 

A. Egbeyemi

265

 

Nebraska

 

Lost in the governor's mansion for a number of years. Found by Diane Nelson, former Gov. Ben Nelson's wife, while the mansion was undergoing renovations.

Now on public display at the Ralph Mueller Planetarium at the University of Nebraska State Museum, Lincoln.

 

 

J. Dunn

266

 

Nevada

 

Nevada State Museum, Carson City (in storage).

 

 

267

 

New Hampshire

   

 

S. Ubele

268

 

New Jersey

 

 

 

269

 

New Mexico

   

 

F. French

270

 

New York

 

New York State Museum, Albany (in storage, plaque and acrylic-encased moon rock held separately)

 

 

L. Moore

271

 

North Carolina

 

Nature Research Center, Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh.

Earlier: Held in a desk drawer at the Department of Commerce and then from 2003 to 2010 in the custody of State University professor Christopher Brown.

 

 

C. Tacker

Photo: NCSU

272

 

North Dakota

 

State Historical Society, Bismarck (in storage)

 

 

P. Depweg
R. Dates

S. Silengo and
M. Halvorson/
Historical Society

273

 

Ohio

 

 

 

274

 

Oklahoma

   

 

R. Niang-Casey

275

 

Oregon

 

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Portland, permanent exhibit in the Earth Science Hall

 

 

L. Erickson

276

 

Pennsylvania

 

Planetarium, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg

 

 

M. Wilkins

277

 

Rhode Island

 

State Archives (in storage), Providence

 

 

T. Evans
R.G. Stearn

278

 

South Carolina

 

 

 

279

 

South Dakota

 

W.H. Over Museum, Vermillion

 

 

D. Brosz

280

 

Tennessee

   

 

281

 

Texas

   

 

K. Aurisch

282

 

Utah

 

Utah Museum of Natural History, The University of Utah, Salt Lake City

 

 

D.M. King

283

 

Vermont

 

in the collection of the Vermont Historical Society, Barre

 

 

M. Guice

284

 

Virginia

   

 

N. Shull

285

 

Washington

   

 

T. Lee

286

 

West Virginia

 

Located in June 2010 in the possession of retired dentist Robert Conner of Morgantown, who received it a decade ago with his late brother Troy's estate. Though the details of how it passed hands are not exactly clear, former Governor Arch A. Moore Jr., who took receipt of the moon rock while in office, was also affiliated with Troy's law firm. Moore told the Associated Press he may have given it to Troy "to observe."

Now in the care of the Governor.

 

 

S. Shelton

287

 

Wisconsin

 

Wisconsin Historical Museum, Madison (in storage)

 

 

E. Ray

288

 

Wyoming

   

 

Y. Molina

289

 

Puerto Rico

 

 

 


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