Reporting Jason DeRusha
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Back in 1969, the first astronauts on the moon made history. They also brought home about 47 pounds of lunar soil.
Some of that rock and dust was divided up so each state in America, and each country of the world, got a small sample. But more than a hundred of those souvenirs were lost over the decades, including Minnesota’s.
The moon is about 4.5 billion years old and on Wednesday, the Minnesota National Guard gave little bits of the moon to the Minnesota Historical Society.
The lunar soil came home with the astronauts of Apollo 11. Each state got a display, but Minnesota’s went missing. It was found in 2010, in a storage closet.
“In the MN national guard veterans service building,” said Lt. Colonel Kevin Olson. “We know that its got a much better future, so that everybody in Minnesota can see and enjoy this historic artifact.”
The historical society already had this fragment of moon rock from the Apollo 17 mission in 1979.
“Those moon rocks are gonna join about 250,000 artifacts that we already care for,” said Pat Gaarder, of the Minnesota Historical Society.
Kids who visited the new moon rocks also heard from a moon rock expert in Texas, who told them moon rocks like this could be worth $5 million on the black market.
“I kind of get how they’re really important, and how they’re really valuable, so it was kind of surprising,” said Louise Mirski, a fifth grader.
“Some of the kids, I think they really get it, they think, ‘Wow, it’s very valuable, it’s very rare, it’s very small, but it’s also really an incredible piece of history,’” said teacher Tim Swanson.
You will be able to see the Minnesota moon rocks at the History Center in St. Paul, starting early next year.