The Dutch national museum said Thursday that one of its prized possessions, a rock supposedly brought back from the moon by U.S. astronauts, is just a piece of petrified wood.
Rijksmuseum spokeswoman Xandra van Gelder, who oversaw the investigation that proved the piece was a fake, said the museum will keep it anyway as a curiosity.
“It’s a good story, with some questions that are still unanswered,” she said. “We can laugh about it.”
The museum acquired the rock after the death of former prime minister Willem Drees in 1988. Drees received it as a private gift on Oct. 9, 1969 from then-U.S. ambassador J. William Middendorf during a visit by the three Apollo 11 astronauts, part of their “Giant Leap” goodwill tour after the first moon landing.
Middendorf, who lives in Rhode Island, told Dutch NOS news that he had gotten it from the U.S. State Department, but couldn’t recall the exact details.
The U.S. Embassy in the Hague said it was investigating the matter.
The museum had vetted the moon rock early on by checking with NASA, Van Gelder said.
The Dutch national museum says one of its prized possessions, a rock supposedly brought back from the moon by U.S. astronauts, is just a piece of petrified wood. The museum acquired the rock after the death of a former prime minister, who received it in 1969 from the then-U.S. ambassador during a visit by the Apollo 11 astronauts. (AP Photo/Rijksmuseum)
She said the space agency told the museum then that it was possible the country had received a rock: NASA gave moon rocks to more than 100 countries in the early 1970s, but those were from later missions.
“Apparently no one thought to doubt it, since it came from the prime minister’s collection,” Van Gelder said.
The rock is not usually on display; the museum is primarily known for its paintings and other works of fine art by masters such as Rembrandt.
It was on show in 2006 and a space expert informed the museum it was unlikely NASA would have given away any moon rocks three months after Apollo returned to Earth.
Researchers from Amsterdam’s Free University said they could see at a glance the rock was not from the moon.
“It’s a nondescript, pretty-much-worthless stone,” Geologist Frank Beunk said in an article published by the museum.
Norwegian school brutally kicks out students, reopens as immigration center 2015-11-25 1:46
A failing Norwegian school has brutally kicked out all of the students living there with just a few days notice to find somewhere else to live and study. It has now reopened as a reception center for immigrants.
The school, called Waldorf, is in the RÃ¸yken municipality of Buskerud County. It had been failing for sometime, and was officially declared bankrupt ...
Why not hear about Islam from a woman who grew up as Muslim in the ME? 2015-11-25 1:52
Youtube description: She says: "I have reached a boiling point with these lies about Islam! Please share it, don't let me waste my breath....go to voxpopulinews.net for a translation of the ISIS website along with other great articles and podcasts!"
Funniest Moments of Illegal Migrants 2015-11-25 1:27
- Beginner picture: Macedonia
- Disastrous migrant: Hungary-Serbia border (Serbian side)
- Grateful migrants: Hungary (Budapest)
- Border Control: Austria (Slovenian border)
- Migrant actor: Hungary-Serbia border (Serbian side)
- Intelligent migrants: Hungary-Serbia border (Hungarian arie) (The fence was built from the border 2,5meters, in Hungarian area)
- Idiot migrant: Hungary (Bicske)
Pew: 65% say the news media has a 'negative effect' on America 2015-11-25 1:55
More than six in 10 Americans believe that the news media, followed closely by Hollywood, has a negative effect on the country, according to a new survey.
An extensive new Pew Research Center survey finds that 65 percent believe that the news media "has a negative effect on the way things are going in the country." Some 56 percent said the ...
Hostage situation reported in N. France, several suffer 'gunshot wounds'' 2015-11-25 1:12
A hostage situation has been reported in the northern French town of Roubaix near the Belgian border. Several people have sustained gunshot wounds, Reuters reported citing medical sources.
The area has been cordoned off by police, RTL reported, adding that gunfire can be heard.
La Voix du Nord newspaper says the hostage takers are armed with Kalashnikovs. Witnesses told the daily that ...