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Moon NASA Space Science

NASA Missing Hundreds of Moon Rocks 132

Posted by Soulskill
from the maybe-you-should-go-get-more dept.
New submitter Minion of Eris writes "It seems NASA can't keep track of its goodies. A recent audit discovered that moon rocks have been missing for 30 years, loaned displays have gone unreturned, and book-keeping has been generally poor. From the article: 'In a report issued by the agency's inspector general on Thursday, NASA concedes that more than 500 pieces of moon rocks, meteorites, comet chunks and other space material were stolen or have been missing since 1970. That includes 218 moon samples that were stolen and later returned and about two dozen moon rocks and chunks of lunar soil that were reported lost last year. NASA, which has lent more than 26,000 samples, needs to keep better track of what is sent to researchers and museums, the report said. The lack of sufficient controls "increases the risk that these unique resources may be lost," the report concluded.'"
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NASA Missing Hundreds of Moon Rocks

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  • by sound+vision (884283) on Friday December 09, 2011 @04:14PM (#38318430) Journal
    I think it's more of the lack of a sufficient space program that'll lose us "unique resources."
  • Simple solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 09, 2011 @04:18PM (#38318484)

    Go get more. The reason nobody was paying much attention in the 1960's is that they never expected the supply of moon rocks would dwindle. We need to maintain permanent residence whatever we go. We went to the moon, we need to establish a base there. If we go to mars, we need to establish a permanent base there too. If we don't force ourselves down this path, we're never going to get off this rock.

  • by Tastecicles (1153671) on Friday December 09, 2011 @04:28PM (#38318626)

    is it?

    Back in the 1960's they had to start with a clean board and design the technology in less than a DECADE to fulfill the promise made by a dead president.

    Now we have the knowhow, we have the technology, what's the single insurmountable obstacle to returning to our nearest solar neighbour?

    Politics.

    It's not even as if the technology has been locked away and forgotten, either. NASA's new launch vehicles will have first stage boosters based on the J2 engines. The manned capsules will be based on the Gemini and Apollo capsules. The Mercury-Atlas and Gemini booster stages are still in use for heavy lifting high-risk and military payloads. It just seems a sad waste to me, that such high adventure was shitcanned so fast after all those "firsts" - landing on the Moon, walking on the Moon, driving on the Moon, playing golf on the Moon. Was all that really done just to piss off the Russians? I have a difficult time putting it down to merely that. Our destiny is in space. We shouldn't let petty disagreements over distribution of finite resources stand in the way of that, or we as a species will die in our crib.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 09, 2011 @04:32PM (#38318682)

    I've worked for companies that, for book keeping reasons, would not let you as an employee take a single thing for personal possession. However, if an item was old and no longer usable, management would "turn a blind eye" if you walked out the door with it. Honestly, if it was large enough, they would help you usher it out the door.

    I know moon rocks aren't the same but I wonder how many items were "lost" to the hands of astronauts and key mission controllers because they frickin' changed the world in being part of the process and NASA felt they deserved a small chunk of history.

    I'm not saying it's right, but I also wouldn't want to prosecution Neil Armstrong if he left his office on his last day with a palm sized moon rock from the Apollo 11 mission, tucked away in a coffee mug.

  • by LifesABeach (234436) on Friday December 09, 2011 @04:47PM (#38318826)
    Gee, lets look around for the missing moon rocks. Hay NASA, there's a big ball of them above our collective heads. Go there and get some more.
  • by dtmos (447842) * on Friday December 09, 2011 @05:19PM (#38319188)

    No, back in the day it was exactly the opposite. Everyone was totally focused on one goal -- getting to the Moon by 31 December 1969. Since neither the task at hand nor the time to complete it were changing, plenty of people were hired and plenty of money was spent, to be sure, but that situation also meant that any bureaucratic baloney was ignored, sidestepped, or waived. People's reputations were on the line, and nobody wanted to be part of the group/division/company/organization that kept the country from reaching the moon first. Whoever was deemed responsible for that could look forward to a lifetime of testimony before congressional investigative committees, not to mention the nation on a never-ending series of Walter Cronkite prime time Special Reports.

    Not to mention not being able to get another job in your profession for the rest of your life. Being Steve Bartman [wikipedia.org] would be a step up.

    After 1973, however, NASA was a different entity. When a pie is growing, as NASA was in the 1960s, nobody bothers to erect any bureaucratic fences, since there's plenty of work for everyone. When the pie shrinks, however, people start trying to stake out their remaining territory, and the end is near.

What this country needs is a good five cent microcomputer.

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