How Interns Stole NASA's Moon Rocks

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In 2002, a ragtag trio of NASA interns conspired to steal millions of dollars' worth of lunar rock samples from their secure storage vault. (Apparently they didn't have an old comic book handy -- they could have easily ordered all the Moon Rocks they wanted!!) Anyway, last week gadget blog Gizmodo published the story of how they carried out the theft, telling the specifics of how they did it -- though the details are somewhat suspect, as their source is the guy who claims to have done all the crazy spy-stuff himself...and who is now writing a novel based on the events. Anyway, here's a snippet:

Building 31 North, which sits on the grounds of Houston's Johnson Space Center, is where NASA keeps all 600 pounds of the moon rocks it has secured. They are the sole property of the government, collected over six lunar missions and protected with the dramatic intensity of national treasures. Building 31 North is one of the few buildings on earth constructed under Class 100 standards—it is a structure that can withstand 1000 years of water submersion, among other durability metrics that should not be tested this side of Armageddon.

Breaking into it is designed to be impossible for normal people. But not harder than building a shuttle, or figuring out how to put a rover on Mars. The agency hires people with the ability to find solutions for intimidatingly large problems exactly like this one. ...

Read the rest for a surprisingly compelling heist story.

(Via Waxy.org.)

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May 14, 2009 - 10:13am
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