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Missing moon rock found among Clinton's knickknacks

Rare lunar souvenir spent decades gathering dust

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A missing moon rock has been found gathering dust in a box of Bill Clinton's papers from his time as the governor of Arkansas.

The space stone, which was brought back from the Apollo 17 mission and presented to the state in the 1970s, is worth millions of dollars.

It's one of the so-called Goodwill Moon Rocks, which came from NASA's last moonwalk and were presented to the 50 US states and 135 foreign heads of state. Each cosmic pebble was mounted on a wooden plaque that also had a flag representing the recipient.

The Arkansas rock was discovered by an archivist at The Butler Centre for Arkansas History and Genealogy, which acquired the Clinton papers in 2004, in a box labelled 'Arkansas flag plaque'.

Bobby Roberts, director of the Central Arkansas Library System, told Reuters that they would be talking to the governor's office and the Clinton Foundation to figure out where the rock should be kept.

He speculated that the plaque, presented to then-governor David Pryor in 1976, was packed away and forgotten after Clinton lost his re-election fight in 1980.

Loads of the Goodwill Moon Rocks have gone missing at one time or another, despite their value and rarity, but a few have rocked up in the private collections of US politicians.

In Colorado, former governor John Vanderhoof had the rock at home, but was shamed in a graduate student's investigation and had to hand it back to the state.

Staff of former Missouri governor, later senator, Kit Bond found the rock among his possessions, despite the fact that he had previously said he had no recollection of ever being presented with it. ®

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