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Cool Things - Moon Rocks

A little piece of the moon is in Kansas in the form of these rocks brought to earth by Apollo 11.

Governor Docking receiving moon rocks from President Nixon

When the Apollo 11 spacecraft left the Earth in July 1969, among the items it carried were small flags from each U.S. state, including Kansas. These flags later landed on the moon and traveled across its surface in the lunar module with the astronauts. The flags eventually returned to our planet along with numerous samples of material from the moon's surface.

NASA's purpose in carrying state flags to the moon was to return each to its home state along with a gift of lunar particles (crystalline rock, breccia, and glass) collected from the Sea of Tranquility. These mementoes of the country's first successful manned mission to the moon were mounted in a special walnut stand and presented to each governor. Kansas' flag and moon rocks were received by Governor Robert Docking from President Richard Nixon at the White House in December 1969.

The inscription printed on a plate at the base of the stand reads, "This flag of your state was carried to the moon and back by Apollo 11, and this fragment of the moon's surface was brought to Earth by the crew of that first manned lunar landing." The stand and its three particles of moon rock are on display in the main gallery of the Kansas Museum of History.

Although no Kansans accompanied Apollo 11 into space, a native was among the original astronauts chosen for the Apollo program. Ron Evans, born in St. Francis, Kansas, was a member of the capsule's support crew. A few years after the successful completion of the Apollo 11 mission, Evans served as Command Module Pilot for Apollo 17. This was the U.S.' last manned lunar landing, in 1972. Evans later donated a number of commemorative items illustrative of his career to the museum.

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Entry: Cool Things - Moon Rocks

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: October 2006

Date Modified: December 2014

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.