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Court to Decide If Man Can Keep His Moon Rock 390

Joe Gutheinz, a former senior investigator for NASA's Office of Inspector General, has made it his goal to collect all 230 moon rocks presented by the US to governments around the world, and put them in a museum. Deadliest Catch Captain Coleman Anderson wants to keep his little piece of the moon. Anderson says he found the rock in the trash mixed with debris following a fire at an Anchorage museum in 1973. He's kept it as a good luck charm ever since. "Our astronauts and their descendants are not permitted to have an Apollo 11-era moon rock to sell for their own enrichment and neither should a private citizen who acquired one in a less-noble manner," Gutheinz said. An Alaskan judge will now decide who legally owns the rock.
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Court to Decide If Man Can Keep His Moon Rock

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  • Re:Precedence (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WillAdams ( 45638 ) on Monday July 11, 2011 @01:41PM (#36723326) Homepage

    The museum wasn't the property owner, but merely a custodian of an item which is owned by NASA and was on loan to them. That they improperly disposed of it, does not terminate NASA's ownership.


  • Take it. (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 11, 2011 @01:44PM (#36723382)

    I don't like the gov't claiming any kind of eminent domain, or seazing any other property from individual owners. But in this case I dislike looters who go into a burned down structure and steal your property before you get a chance to return and get it. What he did was an act of looting and theft and should probably be fined for it. .

  • Re:Good call (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Monday July 11, 2011 @02:06PM (#36723768)

    But that's what you get for trying, sued

    So that's why after he rescued it he immediately returned it to the relevant interested parties rather than keeping it for himself? Oh wait...

  • Re:wow what a shame (Score:2, Interesting)

    by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Monday July 11, 2011 @03:38PM (#36725316)

    Still, the point remains that its cost was largely due to its novelty.

    You mean ... kinda like gold?

  • Re:Good call (Score:1, Interesting)

    by txsable ( 169665 ) on Monday July 11, 2011 @03:49PM (#36725456) Homepage

    I don't know if it's a city ordinance or state law here, but when something is placed out for trash, it becomes the property of the city. It is actually illegal to remove anything from a trash pile or trashcan without the original owner's permission, and doing so will get you fined.

    In this case, based on TFA(s), it looks like the plaque with the moon rocks was removed from the museum property by either the kid or his dad, and the dad was quite possibly complicit in the theft to not report it (to the museum, police, etc) or return the plaque when he discovered his son had it.

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter