Moon rock to be prize exhibit at UN exhibition in Vienna

Moon rock to be prize exhibit at UN exhibition in Vienna

A 160-gram fragment of the moon, collected by the US Apollo 15 mission in July 1971, was presented to the head of the United Nations office in Vienna today, as delegates met in the Austrian capital to discuss outer space issues.

The golf ball-sized rock, loaned by the United States of America's National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), will serve as the centrepiece of an exhibition on outer space in the Vienna International Centre, organized to run parallel to the meeting of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, which runs through Friday.

It was presented today to the Director-General of the UN Office at Vienna, Antonio Maria Costa, by US Ambassador Kenneth C. Brill.

The rock is made of lunar highland breccia, formed by meteors and comets hitting the Moon. Estimated to be 3.9 billion years old, the fragment is older than most rocks on the Earth's surface. Lunar rocks are used to provide scientists with valuable information on the formation of the planets and the sun.

The UN Office for Outer Space Affairs, which is hosting the exhibit, is responsible for promoting international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, and promotes the development and codification of international space law. There are currently five UN treaties governing outer space.