Last year, I wrote about the concerns that some of the moon rocks given away to various governments by the Nixon administration may have gone missing. A recent report from the Denver Post indicates the problem isn't just with other countries, it's right here at home. A set of moon rocks presented to Colorado's governor in 1974 which could be worth as much as $5 million on the black market appear to have disappeared.
Denver has one set of moon rocks on display on the third floor of the state Capitol. Those rocks were found around ten years ago in storage at the Colorado History Museum. A plaque with a golf-ball-sized sphere enclosing bits of the moon, was presented to Gov. John Vanderhoof by astronaut Jack Lousma on Jan. 9, 1974 but now it cannot be located. The Colorado History Museum doesn't have it nor does the Denver Museum of Nature & Science or the CU Heritage Center Space Exploration Gallery. A forensic-investigation student from the University of Phoenix believes they could be tucked away in the Colorado State Archives in boxes of Vanderhoof's personal effects. Richard Griffis has spent two months trying to find Colorado's Apollo 17 moon rocks. He is a student of Joseph Gutheinz, a retired NASA agent who in 1998 helped catch a man trying to sell Honduras' Apollo 17 moon rocks for $5 million. Gutheinz now teaches forensic investigation at the University of Phoenix and one of his assignments is for students to locate the lost moon rocks.
UPDATE: The rocks have been found. The rocks brought back by the Apollo 17 mission a are hanging in the home office of former Gov. John D. Vanderhoof. They will likely now find a home at a local museum or historical society.