Moon rocks were encased in acrylic and mounted on a wooden plaque. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
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SALT LAKE CITY: A strange thing happened after Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 crew returned from the moon with lunar rocks: Many of the mementos given to every U.S. state vanished.When Gutheinz started leading the effort to find them in 2002, he estimates that 40 states had lost track of the rocks.The U.S. government also sent out a second set of goodwill moon rocks to the states and other nations after the Apollo 17 mission, and many of those are missing too, he said.In New York, officials who oversee the state museum have no record of that state's Apollo 11 rock.The U.S. Virgin Islands territory, meanwhile, can't confirm that they ever received a goodwill rock, though the University of the Virgin Islands later received Apollo 11 rocks for scientific research purposes, chief conservator Julio Encarnacion III said.The Advocate newspaper in Baton Rouge had located Louisiana's Apollo 11 moon rock in early August after a call from Gutheinz.
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