Saturday, June 29, 2002

how much for the moon?

The ultimate gift in diplomatic circles at one time was a presentation of a moon rock by the U.S. Government to a country. A Florida business man who purchased a moon rock from someone in Honduras is being told that he has to relinquish ownership rights to it so that it can be returned to Honduras. The rock was officially a gift to the Honduran Government, but sometime during a string of changes in governance, it disappeared.

It was seized from the Florida man by the U.S. Government in 1998, and is now the subject of a petition for return of property under the case name "United States v. Lucite ball containing lunar material." During the dispute over who owns the rock, estimates about the value of the rock have been calculated to be in the millions of dollars. Should the government be selling pieces of the moon to people willing to spend such sums of money?

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