A piece of rock from the moon which has been on display in the Exploration Museum in Húsavík, northeast Iceland, has been taken back into the care of the Icelandic Institute of Natural History, which owns the stone.
The Institute believes the stone has not been kept under high enough security at the museum, and its value is believed to run into hundreds of millions of krónur. ISK 100,000,000 is equivalent to EUR 696,000 or USD 779,000.
RÚV reports that the Húsavík Exploration Museum has had the stone on loan and that it has been one of the top attractions in the space travel section of the museum.
The Icelandic Institute of Natural History is responsible for the stone, which was given to the Icelandic nation along with similar stones given to many other countries in the world.
The stone is presented on a plaque, along with an Icelandic flag which was carried to the moon by the Apollo astronauts.
The value of each and every stone presented to different countries is hundreds of millions of krónur each and therefore they need to be kept under tight security, according to the Natural History Institute director, Jón Gunnar Ottósson.
“And several of these stones have been disappearing from museums overseas, like in Malta, Sweden, and elsewhere, and are being bought and sold for very high sums. There have been recommendations to increase security around the stones and that is what we are doing. That does not mean, however, that it can’t go back to Húsavík,” Jón Gunnar adds.
The contract to display the stone in Húsavík can be renewed, but the museum would need to provide better security. In the meantime, it is being returned to secure storage at the natural history institute—for the time being, at least.
“Until we loan it out again. We have a great deal of security: we have new storage facilities which fulfill all security requirements,” Jón Gunnar assures.