‘Moon rock’ in Dutch museum is just petrified wood

AMSTERDAM (AP) – The Dutch national museum says one of its prized possessions, a rock supposedly brought back from the moon by U.S. astronauts, is just a piece of petrified wood.

The museum acquired the rock after the death of a former prime minister. He got it in 1969 from the U.S. ambassador during a visit by the Apollo 11 astronauts.

The former ambassador, J. William Middendorf of Rhode Island, tells Dutch NOS news that he got it from the U.S. State Department, but couldn’t recall the exact details.

An expert saw it on display in 2006 and told the museum it was unlikely NASA would have given away any moon rocks three months after Apollo returned to earth.

A museum spokeswoman said Thursday that geologists have identified it as petrified wood worth no more than $70.

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AP-ES-08-27-09 0959EDT