The dark side of the moon rock

Gutheinz gave as an example Romania, where the moon rock was sold with the executed dictator's estate.

While the moon rock, or possibly rocks, in New York may not be lost in shifting dictatorships, they are still an item that requires a great deal of protection.

New York's Apollo 17 Goodwill moon rock, which had been on display at the New York State Museum, was taken from view five years ago when the country of Malta's moon rocks were stolen, according to Michael Hawkins, geology collections manager at the museum.

"It had a value of $5 million, so we had it locked up with the other high-risk pieces," said Hawkins. "It would be onerous to put a security guard on it at all times."

Hawkins said that something that is extremely valuable should be kept extremely safe, and the moon rock would not be put on display unless it was under the protection of guards.

Hawkins did not rule out the possibility of showing the moon rock again at the museum " at special events or in exhibits " but said for the time being, the sample would remain under lock and key.

"We have had it on display in the past, and we will have it on display in the future, but right now I cannot say when," said Hawkins.

Even getting a photo of the moon rocks is apparently a security risk, according to museum officials who stated that multiple members of the museum's administration and state police must be at the opening of the high-security vault because of the rock and other valuable items contained within. As of Nov. 30, the New York State Museum staff retracted the previous comment about the security involved in opening the vault, stating that the information was not accurate and that the museum would not be able to divulge that information for security purposes. The only information that they could make available was that there are multiple safeguards in place and that it is in a safe location.

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