A lump of rock from moon given to former prime minister Willem Drees by the US ambassador in 1969 is actually a piece of petrified wood, the Parool reports on Monday.
The piece of rock, which was kept on the former prime minister’s desk and later donated to the Rijksmuseum, was given to the Netherlands by ambassador J. William Middendorf II to commemorate the first moon landing, the paper says.
But Rijksmuseum scientists say the rock is simply fossilised wood. And, the museum’s Xandra van Gelder points out, the accompanying document did not state it was moon rock, but simply ‘to commemorate’ the landing.
The Parool says a space expert had already pointed out that the stone could not be real during an exhibition in 2006. ‘Neil Armstrong was only on the moon for 30 minutes and gathered up a few moon rocks which are all now with Nasa,’ he was quoted as saying at the time.
The paper says the US ambassador does not remember anything about the rock apart from that it had been given to him by the state department and that Drees was extremely pleased with it.
Van Gelder says the rock will remain in the museum’s collection but its value has been revised down from €50,000 to a few euros.
For the AP report on this, click here