All those conspiracy theories about how we never actually went to the moon, how NASA along with the Defense Intelligence Agency staged everything on a huge soundstage in the Nevada desert and how the three astronauts were actually just in Las Vegas boozing it up and living large while undergoing ‘guilt therapy’ lessons to lie better and feel good about lying better and how this entire madcap moon adventure was a 30 billion dollar swindle to defraud the world and convince everyone, especially the Russians, that we kick ass, just may have gotten a bit of a boost.
A moon rock collected from the first manned lunar landing on July 20, 1969 and given to former Dutch Prime Minister Willem Drees as a private gift from then-U.S. ambassador J. William Middendorf, who accompanied the Apollo 11 astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin, Jr. on a visit to The Netherlands has been analyzed and appears to be nothing more than petrified wood.
This treasured piece went on display at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum Museum after Drees died in 1988; at one point the rock was insured for around $500,000. A new estimate suggests its value to closer to about $70.
Recent tests have proved that the moon rock is a fake; Geologists from Amsterdam's Free University said they could tell at a glance the rock was not from the moon. Needless to say NASA and U.S. officials have no explanation for the Dutch discovery.
Rijksmuseum Museum spokesperson Xandra van Gelder, said the museum will keep the artifact as a curiosity. “It's a good story, with some questions that are still unanswered,” she said. “We can laugh about it.”
Former U.S. ambassador Middendorf in an interview last week said he didn't recall presenting the rock to Drees, but does remember the astronauts visiting the Netherlands as part of their "Giant Leap" goodwill tour. Another odd unanswered question is why Drees would have been given the rock in the first place. In 1969 he would have been 83 years old and had been out of office for over a decade, though he was a national hero who helped rebuild the Netherlands after the Second World War.
My favorite lunar spin so far is that the plaque doesn’t actually claim the rock is from the moon, it just says it’s a gift from the astronauts who went to the moon ...