Second moon rock discovered in West Virginia

A second moon rock presented in the 1970s to a governor has turned up, this time in Charleston, W.Va.

The rock presented to Gov. Arch Moore turned up in the garage of the brother of Moore’s one-time business partner, said Sandy Shelton, a graduate student at the University of Phoenix taking a class from Joseph Gutheinz, a professor at the University of Phoenix in Texas. Gutheinz also is a former special agent with the Office of Inspector General for NASA.

Shelton, who now lives in Minneapolis, wrote a story about missing moon rocks in The Charleston Gazette, her hometown newspaper, and soon after received a phone call from someone who told her where the West Virginia rock could be found, she said.

The story checked out, and the second rock was found, Shelton said.

“Can you believe that?” Shelton said. “I don’t know how it happened, but it happened.”

A moon rock given to Colorado Gov. John Vanderhoof in 1974 has been in his study ever since, Vanderhoof said this week when the rock was described as missing.

Vanderhoof is hoping to keep the rock on the Western Slope. A twin rock fragment hangs in the state Capitol in Denver.

Gutheinz said he had contacted the West Virginia governor’s office to collect the rock after his student tracked it down.

With two finds, “this has been a really good week for us,” Gutheinz said.

The Colorado rocks were collected during the Apollo 17 mission to the moon, the last time man stepped foot there. The rocks were presented to all 50 states and to 180 countries.

The West Virginia find brings to 15 the rocks presented to the states from the Apollo 17 that are missing. Eighteen rocks from the Apollo 11 mission also are missing, he said.


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