Way back in 1969, some moon rocks from the Apollo 11 mission were given to then Alaskan Governor Keith Miller who passed them along to the Alaska Transportation Museum. The moon rocks were tiny, encased in a bit of acrylic and attached to a plaque. By 1973, however, Alaska’s moon rocks were lost after an arsonist’s fire claimed many of the items inside, despite witnesses stating they had believed the plaque was intact after the fire. Nearly 40 years later, the moon rocks have been returned to the Alaskan government and their rightful place.

In 2010, Coleman Anderson, the foster son of the transportation director and a Deadliest Catch alum, claimed ownership of the moon rocks, stating he had “rescued” the items from the rubble of the 1973 fire. According to MSNBC News, Anderson and his lawyer sued for ownership of the rocks, stating they were rightfully his but he would be willing to sell the rocks back to the Alaskan government. Maybe the man did “rescue” the rocks from the rubble, but that still doesn’t mean they are his to own.

Apparently, the Alaskan state government believed so, too, and to prove the rocks were those the state lost in the 1973 fire, using FBI expertise and photos. Eventually, Anderson owned up and relinquished his claim on the rocks, noting they were picked up for “safekeeping” after the fire occurred. Anderson was 17 at the time. Nearly four decades later, Alaska will have to find a new place to house the moon rocks and put them on display.

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