NASA To Test Moon Rock For Sale By American Woman For $1.7 Million

By on May 21, 2011 in Astronomy, Science, United States, World Comments

Apollo 17 Lunar Rock Sample No. 72255
Image Credit: NASA

An American woman is being questioned by authorities when she allegedly tried to sell a moon rock for $1.7 million (£1.05m) in Lake Elsinore about 70 miles southeast of Los Angeles, according to reports by several international news sites.

NASA officials, based on the reports, will be conducting an investigation to determine whether the piece of rock is a genuine moon rock. “It’s possible this is a moon rock, but it has to be tested first,” Gail Robinson, deputy inspector general of NASA said in a statement.

According to Joseph Gutheinz, a University of Arizona instructor and former NASA investigator, a lunar curator at a special lab at Johnson Space Center will be used to test the moon rock.

The anonymous woman was held, but not formally arrested, after NASA investigators conducted an operation together with the Riverside County local police. Other reports mentioned the possibility that the woman could be charge with theft if the rock is genuine, or fraud charges if it is not.

Moon rocks are considered national treasure in the United States and selling them is considered illegal. The gray moon rocks, which can sell for millions of dollars on the black market, were given by former President Richard Nixon to each US state and 136 countries.

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