Missing moon dust returned to NASA from St. Louis

Thursday, June 23, 2011 | 11:57 a.m. CDT

ST. LOUIS — Moon dust apparently smuggled years ago from Johnson Space Center is now back in Houston.

The U.S. Attorney's office in St. Louis said Thursday that what is believed to be a portion of the stolen moon dust was retrieved from a St. Louis auction company on Friday. The consignor was not involved in the purchase of the dust and didn't know how her late husband acquired it, so no arrest was made.

Officials believe lunar dust from a film cartridge used by Apollo 11 astronauts was taken by a NASA employee who used a 1-inch piece of tape. The recovered dust is believed to be from a segment of that tape.

Preliminary tests by NASA confirm the material is likely lunar, but final confirmation could take three weeks.


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