Alaska reclaims missing moon rocks since 1973

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Associated Press

Posted on December 6, 2012 at 5:03 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 6 at 5:06 PM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska's moon rocks from the 1969 Apollo 11 mission are back in the 49th state.

President Richard Nixon presented the tiny pieces to state officials. They had been displayed at an Anchorage transportation museum in 1973 when an arsonist torched the building.

The rocks disappeared until late 2010 when the foster son of the museum director, Coleman Anderson, claimed he had rescued them from rubble destined for a landfill. He sued to claim ownership.

State officials were skeptical of the story and countersued. Assistant Attorney General Stephen Slotnick says evidence collected in the case persuaded Anderson to relinquish his claim.

The stones are encased in acrylic glass and mounted in a walnut plaque. They'll be shown at the state museum in Juneau this month then displayed elsewhere around the state.

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