Moon turns out to be giant tree
August 28, 2009 7:50 AM   Subscribe

A rock given to the Netherlands as a gift by the American Ambassador to commemorate the Apollo-11 moon landing is tested and found to be nothing but petrified wood. Expect a "I told you so" from your neighbourhood conspiracy theorist at any moment.

Looking forward to reading about your favourite encounter with / link to conspiracy theorists!
posted by dearsina (81 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Let's just get this out of the way: the Moon is real.
posted by mullingitover at 7:54 AM on August 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Let's just get this out of the way: the Moon is made of wood.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:56 AM on August 28, 2009 [42 favorites]


mullingitover, have you ever heard of holograms?
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 7:56 AM on August 28, 2009


It's the thought that counts.
posted by metagnathous at 7:57 AM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


We just thought you'd like to make some clogs.
posted by spaltavian at 7:58 AM on August 28, 2009 [10 favorites]


This just means that the Moon aliens were a species of advanced arborists.
posted by backseatpilot at 8:01 AM on August 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


The moon landing gives me rock hard wood as well.
posted by srboisvert at 8:02 AM on August 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Let's just get this out of the way: the Moon is made of wood.


And therefore is .... A WITCH!!!
posted by R_Nebblesworth at 8:02 AM on August 28, 2009 [27 favorites]


A wooden nickel, supposed to have been green cheese. What an interesting world.
posted by nickyskye at 8:02 AM on August 28, 2009


So what is petrified wood doing on the moon? What scared the tree so much that it decided to leave earth?
posted by blue_beetle at 8:08 AM on August 28, 2009 [16 favorites]


Of all the things to pass off as a fake moon rock: fossilized organic material? At least it wasn't petrified cheese. Dammit, now I'm hungry for a 10 year old gouda.
posted by Nelson at 8:09 AM on August 28, 2009


Maybe it's wood from a Stage Tree.
posted by octothorpe at 8:11 AM on August 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


The US agency gave moon rocks to more than 100 countries following lunar missions in the 1970s.

US officials said they had no explanation for the Dutch discovery.


If I were in possession of one of the other 'moon rocks', I know what I'd be doing now...
posted by Dysk at 8:20 AM on August 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


It could be part of the stage set they shot the moon landings in.
posted by vbfg at 8:21 AM on August 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


The rock was given by J. William Middendorf, he received a Bachelor of Naval Science from College of the Holy Cross. Do you supposed that rascally Catholic Republican pranked the Dutch government?

Or the three Apollo 11 astronauts pocketed the real rocks and swapped them for fakes? It will be interesting when/if others examine the veracity of their gift from the astronauts on the "Giant Leap" goodwill tour after the first moon landing.

An entertaining mystery.
posted by nickyskye at 8:23 AM on August 28, 2009


Het is niet een maansteen maar een kanker hout dingetje.

(My Dutch isn't great but I try...)
posted by ob at 8:32 AM on August 28, 2009


Clearly the moon-men/Easter islanders cut all the trees down to make the face on Mars.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:34 AM on August 28, 2009


Of all the rocks you could try to pass off as moon rock, petrified wood seems like one of the most likely to get you caught.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:34 AM on August 28, 2009 [9 favorites]


That's no moon.

(sorry, I couldn't help it)
posted by K5 at 8:41 AM on August 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


Het is niet een maansteen maar een kanker hout dingetje.

-> The moonstone is not a cancer but a wooden thing.

Wat?
posted by Perplexity at 8:46 AM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


100 rocks to pass around the world? There's more pieces of the moon floating around than pieces of the true cross.
posted by zzazazz at 8:49 AM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


See? They were onto something when they sang: "Oh it's only a paper moon..."
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:51 AM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's only a model.
posted by R_Nebblesworth at 8:52 AM on August 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


If I were in possession of one of the other 'moon rocks', I know what I'd be doing now...

Impress that attractive lady intern?
posted by filthy light thief at 8:53 AM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I you think that's bad, world, wait till you find out that the Marshall Plan was actually just a bunch of cats taped together.
posted by Atom Eyes at 8:53 AM on August 28, 2009 [21 favorites]


Let's just get this out of the way: the Moon is real.

You fool! That's what the werewolves want you to believe!
posted by entropicamericana at 8:55 AM on August 28, 2009


100 rocks to pass around the world? There's more pieces of the moon floating around than pieces of the true cross.

And this one's not even real-- it's made of wood! HEY, wait a minute....
posted by nax at 9:04 AM on August 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Let's just get this out of the way: the Moon is made of wood.

And therefore is .... A WITCH!!!

No no no, you're jumping to conclusions. First we have to see if the Moon weighs the same as a duck...
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:05 AM on August 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


... And then check if it floats. Or is that vis-versa?
posted by filthy light thief at 9:13 AM on August 28, 2009


To be fair, it is a moon rock. I had it up my ass before I gave it to you.
posted by klangklangston at 9:17 AM on August 28, 2009


It's a moon beam.
posted by inconsequentialist at 9:17 AM on August 28, 2009 [40 favorites]


This story would be 98% better if that sample had turned out to be petrified cheese.
posted by datter at 9:17 AM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Trees are made of dead drummers and my exposed ass.
posted by swift at 9:18 AM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can tell you that's petrified wood by just looking at the picture. No charge.
posted by Big_B at 9:20 AM on August 28, 2009


Buzz Aldrin would punch this thread IN THE FACE.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:23 AM on August 28, 2009 [13 favorites]


Big_B has a point. I'm not a geologist, but I thought moon rocks generally looked like basalt. This specimen looks very different from the other pictures of moon rocks.

I wonder how this escaped attention for so long. Perhaps someone swapped it and sold the real one 20 years ago?
posted by demiurge at 9:30 AM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bart Sibrel, the guy who got punched in the face by Buzz Aldrin, recently screened one of his films at a bar/music venue here in Nashville. Apparently several local college professors showed up to question him. I wasn't there, but I heard it got a little heated and Sibrel left before the allotted question/answer time was over. He works as a cab driver in Nashville now.
posted by sklero at 9:32 AM on August 28, 2009


Het is niet een maansteen maar een kanker hout dingetje.

-> The moonstone is not a cancer but a wooden thing.

Wat?


It's not a moonstone but a fucking wooden thing.
posted by ob at 9:43 AM on August 28, 2009


a cab driver with unconventional scientific views now this i have to see
posted by DU at 9:43 AM on August 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Since the so-called discovery of the moon in 1969

Say what?
posted by smackfu at 9:49 AM on August 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


In related news, a small church in Ohio, thinking they had a piece of the original ark of Noah, has discovered that it's not wood at all...

Moon rock capers are awesome. What a great story.
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:49 AM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


it's revenge for them passing off the tee set and the shocking blue as rock
posted by pyramid termite at 9:50 AM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Or maybe someone finally noticed that it was swapped out in a high stakes heist in the mid-70s. Coming next summer, George Clooney is Neil Armstrong in Apollo's 11.
posted by crashlanding at 10:03 AM on August 28, 2009 [15 favorites]


Which is more likely: US feigns moon landing, hands out petrified wood to be displayed in 100 countries to great fanfare, or someone swaps moon rock with nearest handy curiosity much later, after previously mentioned fanfare dies down?

I'd say the evidence is in: Buzz Aldrin never really punched a guy in the face. It was all special effects.
posted by explosion at 10:12 AM on August 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


That's nothing. I heard we gave a lump of blue Play-Doh to Denmark.
posted by orme at 10:15 AM on August 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


explosion, one thing that could help debunk the conspiracy theory (or at least returning it to the backburner) would be to test the other 100+ 'moon rocks' and ascertain that they are indeed from the moon.

If they aren't, that doesn't automatically mean the moon landing was a fake either, of course. Just that somebody working as an ambassador of sorts for the US in the 70s had a particularly odd sense of humour or callous disregard for the world outside America.
posted by Dysk at 10:16 AM on August 28, 2009


This seems like as good a time as any for France to reveal that the Statue of Liberty is in fact the STATUE OF EVIL.
posted by brain_drain at 10:38 AM on August 28, 2009 [7 favorites]


The notion that a piece of evidence would sway a conspiracy theorist is indicative of a fundamental misunderstanding of how conspiracy theories work. If you could be convinced by evidence, you wouldn't be a conspiracy theorist (thanks, House!)
posted by 0xFCAF at 10:39 AM on August 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


As opposed to the 1000000000 other moon rocks that are ACTUALLY MOON ROCK!
posted by kldickson at 10:47 AM on August 28, 2009


I am in favor of giving rock-hard wood to the Dutch.
posted by Mister_A at 10:57 AM on August 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


I would totally support this if the American ambassador convinced the Netherlands to trade him something awesome in return.

Also, I hope that the ambassador managed to sell the Brooklyn bridge to the Dutch while he was there. "No, no, we're returning it. It turns out that we never properly annexed the property, so it's still technically part of the Netherlands—you know, New Amsterdam. It's just that I need some Euros to make sure that all of the paperwork is in order and to set up the big Let's Go Dutch party for the return. You'll get them all back once the deal is finished…"
posted by klangklangston at 10:59 AM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


test the other 100+ 'moon rocks'

Knock on moon, they're real.
posted by Feisty at 11:02 AM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


The fake moonrock is the US' payback for us buying Manhattan from the native Americans back in 1625 for only 1000$.
posted by jouke at 11:13 AM on August 28, 2009


Maybe it was just a piece of one of those moon trees (previously)?

The Apollo 14 astronauts took nearly 500 tree seeds with them on their 1971 trip to the moon. When they returned to earth, the seeds were given to cities all over the country to plant, as a kind of experiment to see whether or not space travel had any effect on the seeds. The first official moon tree was planted on May 6, 1975, in Philadelphia’s Washington Square Park to launch the nation’s bicentennial celebration. The tree, a sycamore, still stands today, with a plaque commemorating its trip to the moon and back. (Surprisingly, nobody really kept track of where exactly all the moon tree seeds went to be planted. Of the 450 or so seeds that were disseminated across the country in 1975, the whereabouts of only about 70 of them are known today.)
posted by mothershock at 11:27 AM on August 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


Well, I don't think petrified wood is real. Trees turning into rocks? I don't think so.
posted by kozad at 11:36 AM on August 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


There's a basilisk on the moon.
posted by Stylus Happenstance at 11:45 AM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wait... the Earth has a moon?
posted by trip and a half at 11:45 AM on August 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am in favor of giving rock-hard wood to the Dutch.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Dutch, or Ed O'Neill Dutch?
posted by dhartung at 11:47 AM on August 28, 2009


You know, I have a piece of wood from the last stage Hank Williams performed on before his death.

I wonder if it got switched with this guy's rock.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:48 AM on August 28, 2009


Dutch: [Daniel is dressing into his gi when the Cobra gang walks into the locker room] Well, well, well, if it isn't our little friend Danielle America. What's the matter? Your mommy isn't here to dress you?
America ignores him]
Dutch: Hey, I'm talking to you punk!
[Dutch shoves America and America puts his guard up]
Dutch: Come on, make a move! Come on! Right now!
Referee: [coming in] Hey! Save it for the fight! Now get out!
Dutch: [to America] Points or no points, you're dead meat.
Referee: I said out!
posted by Pollomacho at 11:57 AM on August 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, oh, I know the answer to this one...
it's Gouda!

No?
Drat.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:27 PM on August 28, 2009


Someone was a confused Beatles fan.

I once had a rock
Or should I say, it once had me
It came from the moon
Isn't it good, givin' Netherlands wood
posted by notashroom at 12:27 PM on August 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Kanker means cancer. Fucking is, current, good Dutch. No need for an horrible illness.
posted by kudzu at 1:58 PM on August 28, 2009


I don't see why there cannot be fossilized wood on the moon.

I heard a great astrobiologist/astrogeologist on Science Friday (Full Episode @ NPR) who stated - if I remember correctly - that around three percent of the material on the surface of the moon has been "kicked" up there from planet Earth.

It turns out that the moon is a good place to study the geology of planet Earth...
posted by cinemafiend at 2:08 PM on August 28, 2009


I'd say the evidence is in: Buzz Aldrin never really punched a guy in the face. It was all special effects.

To be fair, an admittedly cgi Bart Sibrel throws the first punch in the 2004 remake of the moon landing.
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:10 PM on August 28, 2009


We appear to be out of petrfied wood, Gromit.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:41 PM on August 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


Eldar craftworld discovered?
posted by Mister Moofoo at 4:09 PM on August 28, 2009


This makes me think of that crazy wooden monastery alternate script for Alien 3.
posted by potch at 4:45 PM on August 28, 2009


M-O-O-N, that spells wood.
posted by bwg at 4:51 PM on August 28, 2009


Arnold Schwarzenegger Dutch, or Ed O'Neill Dutch?
posted by dhartung at 2:47 PM on August 28 [+] [!]


Schwarzenegger is dutch?
posted by liza at 5:12 PM on August 28, 2009


Schwarzenegger is dutch?

does he distribute amway?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:27 PM on August 28, 2009


I totally misread that as "given to the Neanderthals" and was expecting some awesome alternate-history fiction. Sadly I was disappointed.
posted by nightchrome at 8:33 PM on August 28, 2009


Great, some lazy lying ambassador picks up a rock from the road on the way to visit the Dutch and tells them that "It's a moon rock, really, it is! Here, it's America's great gift to you!" so the Dutch are happy and the ambassador gets a raise, but after a loong while, they take a closer look and say "Heeey! Wait a minute here!", and now we have to go back to the moon and so we can get a REAL rock to give to the Dutch, and that ambassador's probably dead now so he won't be able to pay for the trip and the economy is bad so we'll go broke in the process, and, well, anyway... don't you just hate it when that happens?
posted by eye of newt at 8:45 PM on August 28, 2009


How is a moon rock different from a regular rock?
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:04 PM on August 28, 2009


It's a little meatier.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:05 PM on August 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


It's a little meatier. - LobsterMitten

Oh darling...I think your puns have hit a new bedrock.
posted by dejah420 at 11:23 PM on August 28, 2009


(I can't take credit, it's from Futurama - the automated joking gophers in the cornball lunar amusement park)
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:35 PM on August 28, 2009


[humming "we're sailors on the moon..."]
posted by subaruwrx at 2:24 AM on August 29, 2009


subaruwrx: [humming "we're sailors on the moon..."]

"Whalers", dear sir, "whalers".
posted by Dysk at 5:34 AM on August 29, 2009


On the Moon, nerds get their pants pulled down and they are spanked with moon rocks.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:57 AM on August 29, 2009


Here on the moon, our weekends are so advanced, they encompass the entire week.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:05 AM on August 29, 2009


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