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Moon chips from Vegas casino mogul sent to NASA
Long journey » The apparent artifact went from Neil Armstrong to Nixon and Somoza, on to a Las Vegas casino owner.


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Wright counseled him that he couldn’t auction or sell it, because whether it had been lost or stolen, it wasn’t clear that Stupak had any legal right to own it.

After Stupak died, Wright contacted NASA and the Nicaraguan consulate about returning the display.

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Wright obtained a written promise in April from NASA attorney Cedric Campbell that if the rock display is authentic, "NASA will return the rock to the people of Nicaragua."

A Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist who wrote about Stupak’s moon rocks in March 2001 wrote about them again for a Sunday column. After an interview on Friday, Wright sent the display off to NASA.

Gutheinz, who teaches an online University of Phoenix course and enlists student sleuths to find missing moon rocks, said the sample sounded authentic. He said he expects an ownership fight in Nicaragua.

But that’ll just provide another chapter for one of the many stories Gutheinz tells about moon rock samples. He said his students have helped find 79 displays since 2002.

Governors took them home in Colorado, West Virginia and Missouri, he said. A display given to then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton turned up in archived materials after Clinton became president.

"Here, the attorney did the right thing," Gutheinz said. "He told NASA, and they’re in the process of turning it over properly. We can only hope that Nicaragua gets its property back."




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