From: LARRY KLAES (ljk4_at_msn.com)
Date: Sat May 22 2004 - 07:42:33 PDT
----- Original Message -----
From: Alex Michael Bonnici<mailto:albonnici_at_vol.net.mt>
To: Peter Pesavento<mailto:eagle267_at_svol.net> ; FPSpace<mailto:fpspace_at_friends-partners.org> ; SSI List<mailto:ssi_list_at_yahoogroups.com>
Cc: transhumantech_at_yahoogroups.com<mailto:transhumantech_at_yahoogroups.com> ; spacesettlers_at_yahoogroups.com<mailto:spacesettlers_at_yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Saturday, May 22, 2004 12:15 AM
Subject: Re: [FPSPACE] Moon rock stolen from Malta museum..from the AssociatedPress
I live on the Island of Malta, so this bit of news hits me a bit hard. The Moon rock recently stolen was on loan and was a central feature of an exhibition recently organized by the Malta Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics entitled "The Solar System: Origin and Debris" held at the Malta Council for Science & Technology (MCST) premises, from May 3rd till May 9th. Dr. Guy Consolmagno of the Vatican Observatory was our special guest speaker and gave a series of lectures.
: "Why does the Vatican need astronomers?" by Dr. Guy Consolmagno on Tuesday 4th. May at 7.00pm.
"Are asteroids fluffy?" by Dr. Guy Consolmagno on Wednesday 5th. May at 7.00pm.
"An introduction to astronomy for older children" by Dr. Guy Consolmagno on Thursday 6th. May at 6.00pm.
The Moon rock was returned to the Museum of Natural History shortly after the exhibition was closed. Writing on behalf of the Malta Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics we would like to express our heart felt hope that the moon rock will be recovered soon.
Alex Michael Bonnici, Member of the Malta Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics
Peter Pesavento wrote:
May 21, 2004
Moon Rock Believed Worth About $5 Million Stolen From Malta Museum
The Associated Press
VALLETTA, Malta (AP) - A tiny moon rock believed to be worth about $5 million was stolen from a museum in Malta, 30 years after President Richard Nixon donated it to the Mediterranean island nation.
The theft from the Museum of Natural History in Mdina was discovered Tuesday during a routine check, officials said. A protective cover of plastic had been forced open to take the rock, which was the size of a raisin.
The rock was picked up in a lunar valley named Taurus-Littrow during the Apollo 17 mission in 1972, the last of the Apollo moon-landing missions. It was one of many moon samples given to nations of the world by the United States.
The exact value of the rock wasn't known but a similarly sized moon rock in Honduras, from the same Apollo mission, is worth about $5 million. That rock was stolen sometime between 1990 and 1994 and was recovered in 1998 after a sting operation.
A Maltese flag displayed next to the rock - which the U.S. astronauts had taken up with them - was not taken.
"The problem the thieves have is what to do with it," Joseph Richard Gutheinz, a retired NASA agent who helped recover the Honduras rock, wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "They can try to sell it to private collectors or if they're sufficiently dumb, at an auction house."
There are no surveillance cameras and no custodians at the Museum of Natural History because of insufficient funding. The only attendant is the ticket-seller.
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