The State Museum placed its moon rock on display today in the main lobby. So we stopped by to have a look.
The rock is really just a shard. And stripped of context, it would just elicit a "Huh?" But there is something cool about seeing a piece of the moon. If anything, it traveled a long way to get here.
The state's moon rock is from the Apollo 17 mission -- the last to visit the surface of the moon. It's part of a larger rock ("sample 70017") that two astronauts on the mission -- Eugene Cernan and Ronald Evans -- dedicated to all the young people of Earth. (Groovy, right? Hey, it was the 70s.) Upon their return, Richard Nixon had the rock broken up and the fragments distributed to 135 countries and the 50 US states. The rocks became known as "Goodwill moon rocks." Many of them have gone missing at various points -- New Jersey apparently just flat out lost its rock.
It was kind of fun watching people stop by the exhibit today to gawk at the rock -- especially when a guy engaged one of the security guards in an impromptu discussion of planetary geology.
The rock will be on display until February 10.
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