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NASA (Moon) Rocks the White House

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
January 22, 2021
Filed under , , , , , , , , , ,
Apollo 17 moon walk (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In symbolic recognition of earlier generations’ ambitions and accomplishments, and support for America’s current Moon to Mars exploration approach, a Moon rock now sits in the Oval Office of the White House. At the request of the incoming Biden Administration, NASA loaned the Moon rock that was put on display in the Oval Office Jan. 20. It is from the Lunar Sample Laboratory Facility at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, and its display case is inscribed with the following:

Lunar Sample 76015,143

Apollo 17 astronaut Ronald Evans and moonwalkers Harrison Schmitt and Eugene Cernan, the last humans to set foot on the Moon, chipped this sample from a large boulder at the base of the North Massif in the Taurus-Littrow Valley, 3 km (almost 2 miles) from the Lunar Module. This 332 gram piece of the Moon (less than a pound), which was collected in 1972, is a 3.9-billion-year-old sample formed during the last large impact event on the nearside of the Moon, the Imbrium Impact Basin, which is 1,145 km or 711.5 miles in diameter.

The irregular sample surfaces contain tiny craters created as micrometeorite impacts have sand-blasted the rock over millions of years. The flat, sawn sides were created in NASA’s Lunar Curation Laboratory when slices were cut for scientific research. This ongoing research is imperative as we continue to learn about our planet and the Moon, and prepare for future missions to the cislunar orbit and beyond.  

14 responses to “NASA (Moon) Rocks the White House”

  1. Aerospike says:

    I hope this is a good sign, that the new Administration won’t try to cancel Artemis or force it into something completely different!

    Of course there will be some adjustments (2024 was only for the overly optimistic anyway), but I’m fine with that.

  2. ThomasLMatula says:

    Hope they are planning to get some more, it looks lonely…

  3. Robert G. Oler says:

    the statement “I believe in science” …

    other wise not much

  4. Wishyouwerehere says:

    I get it.. rather than going to the moon, the moon is going to come to us!!

  5. newpapyrus says:

    Excellent symbolic move by Biden!

    Even though NASA has a relatively tiny annual budget, there is still strong bipartisan support for the space agency. And Florida, Texas, and Ohio (states that receive a substantial amount of NASA related funding) could be in play for the Democrats during the next Presidential election. Biden needs to also make sure that he preserves the National Space Council and Harris needs to continue the role of vice presidents being chairman of the council.

    As only the second Roman Catholic president in US history, I assume the moon rock has a special meaning for Joe Biden since it was John F. Kennedy, the first Roman Catholic President of the US, who committed America to land men on the Moon.


    • gunsandrockets says:

      Space policy won’t swing a national election. Even space policy nerds won’t change their vote based on a candidates space policy. In the larger scale of national politics, NASA policy just doesn’t rank very high at all.

      This moon rock request is a surprising move by the Biden administration, but who knows what it really portends?

      Even though NASA is of little political consequence, NASA policy is at a critical crossroads at just the moment a new Administration wields power. The decisions they take (or dodge?) will spell out the fate of NASA: will NASA stagnate into an expensive irrelevancy or will NASA keep up with the expanding frontier of manned space exploration?

      Unless we get some very surprising news very soon, it looks to me like Project Artemis will be stalled, and the first manned landing rescheduled for no earlier than 2028. Meanwhile ever more money will get plowed into SLS, with a second launch platform, EUS development, and a block 2 SLS with ‘advanced boosters’.

      SLS delenda est

  6. Smokey_the_Bear says:

    Cool display, In 20 years I’ll probably be able to buy a moon rock in a cool display case, off ebay for a couple hundred bucks. 🙂
    and it won’t have anything to do with NASA’s boondoggle SLS, but Elon’s BFR.

  7. therealdmt says:

    This is a good sign, for sure.

    Not saying it’s the same as bold action or expending political capital, etc., but he must have specifically requested it.

    And to think of all of the probably literally billions of items in US government or his personal possession (or possession his friends, donors, etc.) that he could have chosen from to put out for display in the limited real estate of the Oval Office. At a minimum, I think one would have to say that it shows he is aware of and at least to a casual extent values America’s past accomplishments in space.

    Anyway, there’ll be bigger items on his plate. It may mainly just show his experience — “Ya know, if we have to choose decorations, come to think of it there is something I’m aware of in the national archives that would go just perfect in this room…” 😀

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