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Moon Rock

Celebrating Apollo featured a moon rock from the Apollo 15 mission.

This is a fragment of lunar sample 15058 [direct link to 3.0 megabyte PDF]. 15058 was cut into several sections, and one corner [direct link to 1.1 meg PDF] was subsequently cut into four display samples, the fragment on display being named "15058,192".

The Lunar and Planetary Institute has many photos of the original 15058 sample, as well as photos of the various sections into which 15058 was cut. NASA photo S71-60657 shows the corner of 15058 from which sample 192 was cut. Photos S76-24635, S76-24637, S76-24638, and S76-26075 show sample 192 itself.

John Oldham, the NASA Glenn exhibits specialist who set up the exhibit, told me that, although embedded in lucite, this sample has not been exposed to air and is thus still scientifically valuable. He has to hand-carry the moon rock anywhere that it's displayed (i.e., it is not shipped via a commercial carrier and is not checked when he flies). Additionally, the moon rock cannot be X-rayed, as this could change its radiological properties.

This has caused some problems as he's flown over the years, when over-zealous TSA agents do not trust the paperwork accompanying the sample which state that it cannot go through X-ray machines. The problems he's had actually led to procedural changes, where NASA can pre-authorize bypassing the X-ray machine when personnel hand carry lunar samples.

Since the moon rock itself is lit from underneath, I've combined two photos to produce a single, properly exposed view of the moon rock display.

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