About 90 of the more than 130 nations that were given small pieces of the moon following the Apollo missions can’t account for the whereabouts of their pieces of lunar history, the Houston Chronicle reports.
“Some likely are in archives and cannot easily be located,” the Chronicle says. “But others have disappeared with deposed dictators, aging government officials or crooked former bureaucrats. Every once in a while, one shows up in the shadowy recesses of illicit private commerce accompanied by a multimillion-dollar price tag and a no-questions proviso.”
Robert Pearlman, described by the newspaper as “the world’s leading authority on space-related artifacts,” maintains the website collectSPACE. There, he has a chart about the thumb-sized “goodwill moon rocks” that were presented to other nations as gifts from the USA. Among the countries where he and retired NASA investigator Joe Gutheinz haven’t yet been able to locate the rocks: