Dutch Museum's 'Moon Rock' an Out-of-This-World Fake

Gift from NASA is just petrified wood, tests reveal
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2009 3:10 PM CDT
In this photo released by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2009, a rock supposedly brought back from the moon, and a note from the then-U.S. ambassador is seen.   (AP Photo/Rijksmuseum)

(Newser) – A “moon rock” exhibited at the Dutch national museum is actually petrified wood, the BBC reports. The three Apollo 11 astronauts gave the object to former PM Willem Drees on a tour following their 1969 moon mission; NASA shared similar artifacts with more than 100 other countries. The purported moon rock was once insured for $500,000.

When Drees died, he left the "rock" to the Rijksmuseum, whose staff recently ordered the tests that revealed the truth. The wood will be kept as a novelty. "It's a good story," said the staffer who led the investigation. "What is also strange is that in 1969, when Willem Drees was given this 'rock,' it was 11 years after he had stepped down as prime minister."