The “lunar rock” given to Holland by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on behalf of NASA is actually a “pretty much worthless stone from Earth”, according to geologists from a Dutch university.
Researchers from Amsterdam’s Free University used the latest scientific methods to determine the origin of the rock and were shocked to discover that the “lunar rock”, valued at over half a million dollars, is actually petrified wood.
Xandra van Gelder, who oversaw the investigation, refused to be drawn on why NASA would hand out fake moon rocks, and said the stone would be kept on display at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum” as a curiosity”.
“It’s a good story, with some questions that are still unanswered,” she said. “We can laugh about it.”
The Dutch may be finding the fake moon rock episode amusing, but Buzz Aldrin and NASA are fuming — and refusing to explain why the moon souvenirs they handed out around the world are being exposed as worthless fakes.
The “moon rock” was given to Willem Drees, a former Dutch leader, during a global tour by Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin following their moon mission in 1969.
J. William Middendorf, the former American ambassador to the Netherlands, made the presentation to Mr Drees and the rock was then donated to the Rijksmuseum after his death in 1988.
“I do remember that Drees was very interested in the little piece of stone. But that it’s not real, I don’t know anything about that,” Mr Middendorf said.
The Telegraph report that NASA gave moon rocks to more than 100 countries following lunar missions in 1969 and the 1970s.
The United States Embassy in The Hague is carrying out an investigation into the affair.
Researchers Amsterdam’s Free University were able to tell at a glance that the rock was unlikely to be from the moon, a conclusion that was borne out by tests.
“It’s a nondescript, pretty-much-worthless stone,” said Frank Beunk, a geologist involved in the investigation.