Rock bottom

Published: Monday 30 November -0001

-- Museum>> Moon Rock Netherlands

One of the most prized possesions of the Netherland's National Museum is a fake. A lump of "moon rock" has been on display in the museum for decades. But now the curators say the supposed moon rock from the first manned lunar landing is not the genuine article. The moon rock at the museum was given to former Prime Minister of the Netherlands Willem Dreesby by the three Apollo-11 astronauts shortly after their moon mission in 1969.

When Drees died, the rock went on display at the Amsterdam museum. It was insured for around US $ 500,000.

The museum says it will now keep the piece as a curiosity. "It's a good story, we can laugh about it," Xandra van Gelder, who oversaw the investigation that proved the piece was a fake, told the news agency, Associated Press.

US space research agency nasa gave moon rocks to more than 100 countries following lunar missions in the 1970s.

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