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NASA to open moon rock samples sealed since Apollo missions

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By the Associated Press

For the first time in decades, NASA is about to open some pristine samples of moon rocks and dirt collected by Apollo astronauts.

The "Genesis Rock," a 4.4 billion-year-old anorthosite sample approximately 2 inches in length, brought back by Apollo 15 and used to determine the moon was formed by a giant impact, is lit inside a pressurized nitrogen-filled examination case in the lunar lab at the NASA Johnson Space Center Monday, June 17, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke / MANILA BULLETIN)

The “Genesis Rock,” a 4.4 billion-year-old anorthosite sample approximately 2 inches in length, brought back by Apollo 15 and used to determine the moon was formed by a giant impact, is lit inside a pressurized nitrogen-filled examination case in the lunar lab at the NASA Johnson Space Center Monday, June 17, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke / MANILA BULLETIN)

Hundreds of pounds of moon rocks are locked up at Johnson Space Center in Houston. Lab workers are preparing to give some of the samples to scientists for study. Nine U.S. research teams will get a sliver of the lunar loot to examine.

Next month marks the 50th anniversary of the first Apollo moon landing, but sample curator Ryan Zeigler says the timing is a coincidence.

His job is to preserve what the 12 moonwalkers brought back from 1969 through 1972 — lunar samples totaling 842 pounds.

Some samples will be opened and sent to the scientists over the next year.

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