NASA to open moon rock samples sealed since Apollo missions

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FILE – In this image provided by NASA, astronaut Buzz Aldrin poses for a photograph beside the U.S. flag deployed on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission on July 20, 1969. A new poll shows most Americans prefer focusing on potential asteroid impacts over a return to the moon. The survey by The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research was released Thursday, June 20, one month before the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Aldrin’s momentous lunar landing. (Neil A. Armstrong/NASA via AP)

HOUSTON (AP) – For the first time in decades, NASA is about to open some pristine samples of moon rocks and dirt collected by Apollo astronauts.

Hundreds of pounds of moon rocks are locked up at Johnson Space Center in Houston. Lab workers are preparing to give some of the samples to scientists for study. Nine U.S. research teams will get a sliver of the lunar loot to examine.

Next month marks the 50th anniversary of the first Apollo moon landing, but sample curator Ryan Zeigler says the timing is a coincidence.

His job is to preserve what the 12 moonwalkers brought back from 1969 through 1972 – lunar samples totaling 842 pounds.

Some samples will be opened and sent to the scientists over the next year.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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