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Space & Astronomy

Lost Apollo 11 samples found in warehouse

By T.K. Randall
May 27, 2013 · Comment icon 9 comments

Image Credit: NASA
Samples of Moon dust gathered by Neil Armstrong have turned up after being lost for 40 years.
The discovery was made by archivist Karen Nelson who found several vials containing materials from the Apollo 11 Moon landing at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 20 vials in total containing dust and crushed up rock had been forgotten about in the labs archives for several decades. At the time of Armstrong and Aldrin's return, samples retrieved from the lunar surface had been sent to 150 laboratories around the world for study.

"We don't know how or when they ended up in storage," said Nelson. The vials were accompanied by a paper entitled 'Study of carbon compounds in Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 returned lunar samples'. Oddly, it appears that the scientists studying the samples simply lost interest, placed them in storage and then forgot about them.[!gad]The discovery was made by archivist Karen Nelson who found several vials containing materials from the Apollo 11 Moon landing at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 20 vials in total containing dust and crushed up rock had been forgotten about in the labs archives for several decades. At the time of Armstrong and Aldrin's return, samples retrieved from the lunar surface had been sent to 150 laboratories around the world for study.

"We don't know how or when they ended up in storage," said Nelson. The vials were accompanied by a paper entitled 'Study of carbon compounds in Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 returned lunar samples'. Oddly, it appears that the scientists studying the samples simply lost interest, placed them in storage and then forgot about them.
Now, thanks to Karen Nelson, a tidy archivist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, about 20 forgotten vials of moon dust collected by Armstrong and Aldrin have been rescued from a grave of their own: a warehouse at the Berkeley lab, where they'd sat quietly gathering, um, Earth dust for the last 40 years or so.


Source: CNET | Comments (9)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by paperdyer 11 years ago
How could they have lost interest in something that's never been analyzed before? Even if they didn't find carbon-based life signs there must have been lots of other stuff to look for.
Comment icon #2 Posted by shrooma 11 years ago
must've got pushed to the back of the shelf when they put the ark of the covenant on.....
Comment icon #3 Posted by HuntrSThompsun 11 years ago
Maybe they'll find the missing ark boxed away in there.
Comment icon #4 Posted by highdesert50 11 years ago
So, there really is a Warehouse 13 storing these exotic finds.
Comment icon #5 Posted by freetoroam 11 years ago
Perhaps the folks at Berkeley just lost interest in the dust once it became apparent there were no signs of past carbon-based moon life in it. Then again, you never know: Maybe they should analyze the stuff a second time. I think paperdyer is right, there is no way they would just lose interest. this looks more like a case of this woman trying to get a name for herself because surely if the tests had been done and there was something of interest they would never had ended up there. Why analyze it a second time?
Comment icon #6 Posted by Hazzard 11 years ago
This should make the conspiracy crowd all warm and fuzzy. - My God, what nefarious plan is now in the works? - What did I miss? - Why return it? - Who does Karen Nelson really work for? - Only 20 vials,... where is the rest? - What did Steven Spielberg know? - Whats that smell? Hello?
Comment icon #7 Posted by chopmo 11 years ago
Yes... 40 years to be exact and I just found them you know, boom bang bam here they are mam. Don't s*** on a plate and tell me it's Pizza. Intelligence or testing samples like this don't just forgotten about and ignored. It's ludacrisy to say they are that slack towards national security (at that point of time, hence a race to the moon. Would you compete then leave your winnings at the corner shop and just think "didn't I have money/*item* before oh well bugger it), that's like saying that the smallpox samples became lost because they were put in a cupboard. But then again we live in a world w... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by aquatus1 11 years ago
In all honesty...yeah, I can see this happening. When all is said and done, it just takes a moment of incompetence by non-trained or action by double-blind personnel, to tuck something on a shelf and not even think about it later. These were, after all, not the only testing samples, and if there was no demand for more, there would be no reason to miss the lost ones.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Chrlzs 11 years ago
..boom bang bam here they are mam. ..Don't s*** on a plate and tell me it's Pizza. So, you're clearly in the sciences, then... Intelligence or testing samples like this don't just forgotten about and ignored. Why not? Because you don't think so? Do you know how many kilograms of lunar regolith was brought back from the Moon? Do you know how much of that has been carefully examined/distributed/given/loaned to people across the globe? Let me tell you that the second number, while quite large, is WAY WAY less than the first. The world is NOT short of lunar regolith samples. It's ludacrisy I like ... [More]


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