How an Intern Stole NASA's Moon Rocks

"Now I'm not saying I believe in stealing moon rocks or that shit. Don't get me wrong." "Yeah, we respect moon rocks and all." "But if I was gonna be a moon rock thief... I'd be Mickey and Mallory."

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. [...]

In the bathroom, when Thad and Tiffany put on their wetsuits, they also stopped to check their breathing apparatus. The moon rocks were in a chamber devoid of oxygen in order to keep the rocks from rotting by oxidation. They would have 15 minutes of air supplied from their tanks once they entered the nitrogen-filled chamber, past the airlock. [...]

Thad and Tiffany had only 3 minutes to crack the safe, or they wouldn't have enough air to get back outside. As the seconds crept onward, Thad continued to struggle with the code, so he quickly moved to plan B, which involved unbolting the heavy safe from the ground, loading it on to a small dolly and carting it back out to the car. [...]

The samples they took were from every Apollo mission, ever. Sometime between the heist and its resolution, Tiffany and Thad arranged the moon rocks on a bed -- and had sex amongst them.

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9 Responses:

  1. httf says:

    This is A Softer World.

  2. rjhatl says:

    I think there are real questions about the accuracy of the article. The thing about "Class 100" buildings being able to "withstand 1000 years of water submersion" sounds more than a little farfetched. I'm assuming they're referring to clean room standards, which have to do only with the size and number of particles and pollutants in the air, not whether your facility can withstand an attack from Gamera.

    A comment on the Gizmodo page also points out that pictures of the moon rock facility in Wikipedia show the rocks being kept in individually-sealed containers that are filled with nitrogen. Perhaps the contaminated moon rocks that were returned from outside experiments are kept in a very different environment (the safe-inside-a-safe scenario in the article), but this seems like a very complex way of holding materials that are of a lesser importance than the other moon rocks.

    There are other issues.. he claims to have had only a few minutes of oxygen, yet after spending some time trying to crack the safe, he was able to lift the (probably large and unwieldy) 500-pound safe onto the dolly without running out of oxygen due to the extra exertion.

    I'm not saying they didn't do it. But between the poor writing and research and Thad's hype, I think we still don't have the straight story about how it actually happened. And I think Thad is using poetic license gone wild to spin this story into getting another item checked off his list: being the inspiration for a straight-to-DVD movie. :-)

  3. merovingian says:

    And thus the sentience of the moon rocks was awakened.

  4. roninspoon says:

    I think one of the most interesting parts of this story is in the last paragraph.

    "Supposedly, two significant pieces of NASA history went missing during the time of the crime, and have not been recovered: The original video tapes of the 1969 Lunar Landing, and six folders of more mysterious content that were supposedly stored in the safe. Thad claims to have never seen them."

    • sheilagh says:

      ufo-ologists will have a *field day* with that!

      • strspn says:

        They were just a bunch of handwritten research notes that the primary investigator had been keeping, according to the FBI case report. What I want to know is why nobody ever bothered to photocopy them during the multiple decades after the first Xerox machine was acquired by NASA and their theft in 2002. Backups are more important than security.

  5. jayp39 says:

    Nice Natural Born Killers reference. :)

  6. gwynjudd says:

    I just cant get it out of my head that they were wearing flippers as well as their wetsuits