UnNews:NASA proposes sending an Apollo Moon Rock to the Moon

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An original Apollo Moon Rock (Apollo 15, ID number 15555), currently held by the Johnson Space Center Museum in Houston, Texas. This Apollo-era keepsake is currently the best candidate to be prominently displayed somewhere on the Moon's lunar surface, but only if the museum can be successfully persuaded to part with it.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC: During a news conference held this morning by Donald Trump on the meticulously-trimmed grounds of the spacious Rose Garden, current NASA administrator and Trump lackey James "Jimmy" Bridenstine (R, Oklahoma) announced NASA's nth concecutive revision (SLS-Artemis 17B.3) of exactly how in the world America could possibly land an actual American astronaut on the Moon at some ill-defined point in the nebulous future. A key feature of this latest iteration of the many-years-old program will be to deliver, before the decade is out, an actual Apollo Moon Rock (AMR) to the lunar surface.

Bridenstein's inspiration for this bold move originated in 1989 when, as a young boy during a school-sponsored field trip to the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, he and his classmates beheld a moon rock on public display in a plexiglass display case. Recalling the freaking awesomeness of seeing an actual piece of the Moon up-close and personal, he convinced the president some time last week that sending such an object all the way to the Moon could engender a renewed interest amonsgt otherwise uninterested Americans to support NASA in continuing to do precisely what in Heaven's name NASA is supposedly doing these days.

Project Moon Rock Retro-Return (MRRR) will require a completely redesigned launch vehicle (AMRLV) and an automated soft-impact lunar lander, tailored specifically for the approximately 1-to-2 kilogram payload and intricate support systems. The containment pod itself (AMRCP) will need to be crafted to precision tolerance in order to protect the valuable lunar sample from the ravaging elements of the uncontrolled lunar environment (such as cosmic rays, micro-meteoroid impacts, zero atmospheric pressure, and extreme temperature swings during the long and lonely lunar nights). A custom-built photographic computer interface (CBPCI) will continuously monitor the encapsulated Apollo Moon Rock and periodically radio back to Earth any unexpected changes in its structural integrity.

The Apollo Moon Rock needed for this new endeavor has yet to be chosen. NASA is currently doing a detailed study of public and private museums throughout the United States to determine which one would most willingly sacrifice such a valuable part of its curated collection in order to bolster America's floundering space agenda. Lunar return samples acquired by the Soviet Union's remote-controlled Luna Program from 1970 to 1976 were briefly considered, but ultimately rejected due to sensitive political concerns with Russia and the pathetic size of the samples acquired (less than a quarter of a kilogram of gravel and dust in total). Failing this, the only other potential source of adequately-sized moon rocks are probably held deep inside the Pentagon's underground lunar-sample storage lockers which are quarantined by the Department of Defense and the CIA deep inside an undisclosed bunker, presumably for purposes of national security.

A separate study to choose an appropriate landing site for the Apollo Moon Rock is also well-underway. Possibilities include the Moon's near side, the Moon's far side, the Moon's dark side, or some vast relatively-featureless volcanic plain where the ornate display case will readily stand out like a sore thumb. An alternative location could be deep within one of the Moon's south polar craters where the promotional information plaque (bearing the President's authentic signature) would be protected from fading by the harsh lunar sunlight. It is hoped that the subsequent installation of other infrastructure (such as an automated welcoming booth and a concessions stand) by future automated missions will provide future American astronauts a legitimate reason to visit, where they will also have the firsthand opportunity to see an actual piece of the Moon up-close and personal, just like the young and eager Jimmy Bridenstine did oh so many years ago.

Although the scientific benefits of diverting valuable national resources to transport a piece of the Moon all the way to the Moon are likely to be next to negligible, the other fringe benefits for the floundering Trump Administration cannot be overly underestimated.