The Signal

full moon

Full Moon photograph taken 10-22-2010 from Madison, Alabama, USA – Found at Wikipedia

The lunar rock was about the size of a bowling ball and weighed almost eight kilos, one of the larger samples collected during the Apollo missions, but it had never been examined until now. Within weeks of it returning to Earth with the Apollo 17 crew on 19 December 1972, it had vanished from its storage area at the Lunar Sample Laboratory Facility in Huston, Texas.

Federal investigators were notified when, after the death of wealthy art and antiquities collector Lawrence Rodriquez, it was discovered in a private vault located under his Boca Raton mansion. It was believed to have passed from one private party to another between the mid-1970s and 2001 when Rodriquez acquired it and locked it away with other illegally obtained artifacts. That was in 2011. Now, four years later, Leo Warner requisitioned it for study by his team.

Unfortunately in the nearly forty years since it had gone missing, it had been carelessly handled and allowed exposure to air, contaminating the surface of the specimen. However, it was still possible that the interior was preserved and to that end, a small core sample was about to be taken.

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Thoughts on the Death of John Glenn

john glenn

Image: NASA

I’m sure most of you have heard that former Astronaut John Glenn passed away today at the age of 95. I was only seven years old, the age of my grandson right now, when Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth in the Friendship 7 Mercury capsule on February 20, 1962. Obviously, I only had a child’s point of view of the event, but I had become fascinated with spaceflight ever since my Dad pointed out what he thought was the Sputnik satellite in the night sky (as an adult, I would find out that Sputnik could not be seen from Earth with the unaided eye, and what we were seeing was the booster used to put it into orbit, tumbling end over end).

I remember having a plastic toy Mercury spacecraft. You could remove the bottom, put the toy astronaut inside, reattach the two pieces, and pretend to blast off.

I eagerly followed the manned space program, from Mercury, to Gemini, and then Apollo.

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