NASA Nabs Grandma for Trying to Sell Moon Rock

Article written: 25 Oct , 2011
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
by

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A 74-year-old grandmother was taken into custody after a NASA sting operation to recover a small shard of a Moon rock. In an Associated Press article, Joanna Davis said the Moon rock was given to her husband by Neil Armstrong in the 1970s, and she was trying to sell the item to take care of her sick son. However, any samples from the Moon are considered government property, and so cannot be sold for profit.

But no charges have been filed and NASA is not commenting on the case.

Davis said she was frightened and bruised during the incident that occurred at a Denny’s restaurant

“They grabbed me and pulled me out of the booth,” Davis told the AP.

Reportedly Davis emailed a NASA contractor on May 10, 2011 trying to find a buyer for the rock, as well as a nickel-sized piece of the heat shield that protected the Apollo 11 space capsule as it returned to earth from the Apollo 11 mission to the moon in 1969.

Neil Armstrong has said previously in a written affidavit that he has never given Moon rocks to private citizens.

While Davis’s attorney called the incident “abhorrent behavior by the federal government to steal something from a retiree that was given to her,” according to AP, Davis apparently knew that what she was doing was against the law.

You can read more in the original AP article.

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20 Responses

  1. earthwatcher says

    Comment deleted for inappropriate language.

  2. Ray Fowler says

    I think we know enough about the chemical properties of the moon now to not make a big deal about the rocks that have been given out. There is nothing intrinsically special about them.

    NASA needs to reassess their priorities. These kinds of incidents are not going to help them in their primary objective: the pursuit of space science.

  3. Anonymous says

    Wow! You hear that, World? The moon is US government property!

    • Ray Fowler says

      More accurately, the rocks that the US government recovered from the moon are US government property. Other countries and individuals are free to travel to the moon and collect their own rocks, if they so desire.

  4. Brandon White says

    I’d like to see NASA go back to the Moon and get more rocks if they really care that much. Shaking down a Denny’s and arresting grandmothers shouldn’t be part of their MO.

    • Baris Bicer says

      I’d love for them to go back to the Moon but ONE particular president thought we’d be better off not going.

      • William Sparrow says

        yeah, let’s elect one of the Christian anti-science Republican candidates and witness what happens to the US Space program and most of scientific research…..

      • Baris Bicer says

        This is why I hate politics. You say one thing and all of sudden you have an enemy. F*** this.

      • William Sparrow says

        Wow, I didn’t realize that offering a counter political statement resulted in me becoming an enemy. You’re the one who made a political statement on a Science site, I merely offered a counter response. This is why I rarely engage conservatives; if you disagree, they take it as a personal attack. None was intended here.

      • Anonymous says

        Aside from the nonsensical and incorrect characterizations, your statement was an attack! Maybe not a personal attack but an attack nonetheless.

    • brandalwhi says

      I thought I made my profile show my name and thought someone else was using my profile. Please delete my post. sorry

  5. Adam Fausey says

    Elon Musk would never have done that 🙂 But seriously, yeah, I agree with Brandon. When NASA’s more willing to shake down an old lady for moon rocks than they are to actually build us a rocket to get some more of them, I daresay they’ve fallen far from the glory days…

  6. U.S. government’s asinine act of the day.

  7. serial_ tech says

    Wow. First the camera and now shake-downs over rocks.

    I’m starting to think that NASA has lost its Eagle Scout shine under the tarnish of bureaucracy.

  8. metamaterials says

    Is the E-Cat COLD FUSION a scientific scam ? Next month the first nuclear reactor is supposed to start up and be powered by nickel powder cold fusion that supposedly releases an excess amount of energy as heat, and which they say means cheap energy worldwide when portable devices are built within 5 years later, to even cheaply power your home. However, cold fusion has never been proven to work, and a law of thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed. I want to ask the experts and authorities here, because life to me is that if its too good to be true, then it is phony.

  9. Anonymous says

    Cost for NASA to return to the moon for more rocks: 100 Billion +
    Cost for NASA to travel to Denny’s for moon rocks: Full tank of gas and a half pack of cigarettes

  10. Cam Kirmser says

    No, the sample doesn’t belong to the government. The government is not authorized by the Constitution to own anything. If it does not belong to this grandmother, then the best is that it belongs to the People. We need to get rid of this idiotic idea that the government can own things or that it has money that it can hand out.

    Now, if she’s telling the truth and Armstrong did give it to her, then she should be allowed to keep it. I don’t think the US will come crashing down around our ears because this woman is allowed to keep a moon pebble. We have enough problems than to worry about a piece of dirt.

    The article states, “no charges have been filed and NASA is not commenting on the case.” Of course not. If she is charged, then she gets a jury. If she gets a jury – well, what jury would convict, given the circumstances? Trying to raise money for a sick kid? Unless that’s a lie, I don’t think anyone would convict her. Further, NASA and the government wouldn’t want the publicity and negative PR the trial would create.

    Let’er keep it.

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