Small pieces of the moon have turned up in a Minnesotan basement and no one is quite sure how they got there. The five samples of Moon rock along with a small Minnesotan flag were transported from the Moon after Neil Armstrong's historic first visit to the Earth's satellite.
But the rocks haven't been given quite the respect that the historic mission merits. These particular specimens were uncovered in a storage room at the Veterans Service Building in St Paul, the state capital of Minnesota.
Officials are baffled by how they got there, reports the Minnesota Star Tribune.
US Army Major Blane Iffert, former state historian for the Minnesota National Guard, found the rocks in the government storage room and researched them on the interwebs before realising how significant they were. He told the paper:
"When I searched the internet to find additional information about the Moon rocks, I knew we had to find a better means to display this artefact."
Major Kristen Auge of the Minnesota National Guard said she has "no idea how the moon rocks came into our possession" or how long they were the storage area.
Described as "little more than pebbles" by the Tribune, these little pieces of the Moon were handed out by former US president Richard Nixon after the first manned Moon mission. Nixon gave each state a set of Moon rocks along with a miniature version of their state flag that had ridden in the Apollo 11 mission.
Moon rocks often go wandering, as we have catalogued many times. NASA has started to get in trouble for its butter-fingered management of these precious resources.
The St Paul rocks have now been gifted to the Minnesota Historical Society, which will use them at STARBASE, a science, technology, engineering and maths centre for youngsters. ®