Viennese museum displays bits of the moon

Three tests samples of moonstone are now on permanent display from NASA at the Natural History Museum in Vienna.

The 84-gram piece of space rock and two soil tests collected from the moon’s surface during the 1971 Apollo-15 mission were presented in person by NASA boss Charles Bolden.

Natural History Museum director Christian Köberl said: “Stones from the moon are the rarest and thus most valuable of precious stones that can be found.”

He added that apart from their scientific treasure-status and being a source of fascination and inspiration, the value of the moon stones is estimated to be somewhere around 262.000 Euros per gram.

This is calculated on the basis of the cost of the Apollo-15 mission and the number of total moon-stone tests made.

Bolden also took the opportunity during his Vienna visit to announce some of NASA’s other projects. Before the end of the decade, he said NASA plans to catch a small asteroid with a spaceship and make it orbit around the moon, so astronauts can take samples to bring back to earth.

Vienna’s Natural History Museum has the oldest and currently the biggest collection of meteorites in the world. There are more than 7,000 catalogued items and 1,100 items are on display in the museum’s “Meteorite Room”, re-designed and re-opened last November.