Stone from the Moon, delivered by the Apollo mission, returned to Cyprus after 50 years

(ORDO NEWS) — 50 years after American astronauts brought back this tiny piece of rock from the surface of the Moon, it has finally reached its destination – the island nation of Cyprus.

A 1.1 gram rock from the moon was on display Thursday at an exhibit marking the 50th anniversary of the last US Apollo moon landing and the Artemis mission, whose Orion capsule returns to Earth after a flyby of the moon.

This fragment is part of a rock from the Taurus-Littrov valley. It was one of 270 samples brought back from the 1969 and 1972 moon missions that the Nixon administration presented as gifts to foreign countries.

During the military conflict in 1974, during which the US Ambassador to Cyprus, Roger P. Davis, was killed, the stone disappeared. Eventually, it was handed over to NASA in the US.

And now the stone has finally returned to the island and will be officially handed over to Cyprus during a ceremony on December 16 at the presidential palace.

Joseph Gutheinz, a professor at the University of Arizona and a former NASA researcher who worked on finding the missing samples, told the Associated Press that the Cypriot fragment was taken by a relative of a US diplomat who was working at the US embassy in Nicosia at the time.

Gutheinz said that in 2009, after five months of negotiations, he was able to persuade the man to return the stone to NASA.

According to Gutheinz, many samples donated to other countries have been stolen, destroyed or missing.

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