The long, strange trip of Bob Stupak’s moon rocks
Wed, May 30, 2012 (4:05 p.m.)
NASA must get its share of crazy letters. But when officials opened a package from the estate of Bob Stupak, somebody probably choked on gum. Before his death more than two years ago, Stupak was a poker player and casino developer in Las Vegas. The package contained his tabletop display of a tiny Nicaraguan flag and four gray chips that might have been plucked from the moon by the first men to set foot on it. NASA is in the process of authenticating the chips. The AP reports that if they’re real, they traveled even farther than the 238,900 miles from the moon to the Earth to reach Stupak. Here’s the reported breakdown:
1. Neil Armstrong takes giant leap for mankind (and picks up rocks).
2. NASA bestows moon chips on then-President Richard Nixon.
3. Nixon gives four to former Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle.
4. A Costa Rican mercenary-turned-Contra rebel steals them.
5. The thief trades his prize to a Baptist missionary for unknown goods.
6. The chips are sold to Stupak, who puts them in a safe deposit box.
7. Attorney Richard Wright, who sent the package to NASA, told the AP that if the chips are real, they’ll likely be returned to the people of Nicaragua. If not, we think they belong in Las Vegas with the fake Statue of Liberty.