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Former resident sues to claim Alaska moon rocks

By Dan Joling

Associated Press

Published: Friday, July 15 2011 1:20 a.m. MDT

In this photo taken Sept. 7, 1973, Phil Redden, curator of the seven-year-old Alaska Transportation Museum, walks through debris the day after a fire destroyed about a half million dollars worth of aviation history and mementoes in Anchorage, Alaska. Moon Rocks presented to then Governor Keith Miller by President Richard Nixon were on display at the Museum when an arsonist torched the building.

Anchorage Daily News, Alice Puster) THE MAT-SU VALLEY FRONTIERSMAN OUT, Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The mystery of Alaska's missing moon rocks has been solved. Getting them back to a state museum likely will depend on a judge.

Alaska officials are contesting a lawsuit filed by a former resident who claims he rescued the moon rocks from a garbage heap 38 years ago after a museum fire. Arthur C. Anderson, who goes by Coleman Anderson, sued in December for formal title to the rocks.

State officials contend the moon rocks were illegally taken from the Alaska Transportation Museum following the suspected arson fire in September 1973. They have filed a counterclaim seeking return of the rocks.

The moon rocks were brought to Earth in July 1969 on Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing. President Nixon presented each state and 136 countries with moon rocks.

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