NASA moons Nicaragua

A collection of moon rocks that were given to the people of Nicaragua in 1973 and then sold to a private collector have finally been returned

The U.S. last week returned part of the moon to Nicaragua 30 years after former dictator Anastasio Somoza sold it off to a U.S. businessman.

In a private ceremony on Nov. 16, NASA administrator Charles F. Bolden presented Nicaraguan Ambassador Francisco Campbell with a collection of moon rocks that were originally given to the people of Nicaragua by U.S. President Richard Nixon in 1973. The moon rocks, gathered by the crew of the Apollo 11 during the first manned lunar landing, were presented along with a small Nicaraguan flag that made the journey into space.

At some point, the gift was sold to U.S. businessman Bob Stupak, who kept it locked in a safe until his death two years ago, when it was given back to NASA. The U.S. space agency then returned it to the people of Nicaragua via its ambassador in Washington, D.C.

  • Mike @ Farmstay El Porton Verde

    Nice headline. Strange (but very Nicaraguan) story.

  • Ron Dewey

    Too bad that these rocks will ended up in another dictator’s hands and then lost for ever in the black market or Hugo Chavez collections.

  • Ben

    Interesting about the small Nica flag sent to the moon. Does anybody know if there were other national flags sent up there? I assume that the flag went up on the same Apollo 11 mission?

  • Expat

    From Huffington Post, May 23rd, 2012:
    If they’re real, they were plucked from the lunar surface by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, given by then-President Richard Nixon to former Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle, pilfered by a Costa Rican mercenary soldier-turned Contra rebel, traded to a Baptist missionary for unknown items, then sold to a flamboyant Las Vegas casino owner who squirreled them away in a safety deposit box.