Fake Moon Rock That Turns Out to Be a Petrified Wood

The Apollo missions brought back moon rocks to Earth. Some of the moon rocks Apollo 11 and Apollo 17 brought back were gifted twice by President Nixon to 135 countries. In the Netherlands, both of these gifts are intact and preserved in a museum. However, there is another unrelated gift, in the form of petrified wood that was mistaken to be a moon rock for several years.

Flat-Earthers use the petrified wood incident to discredit the Apollo missions. In reality, the incident is not related to the two moon rocks that the United States officially gifted to the Netherlands, which are still displayed in Museum Boerhaave, Leiden.

The incident was about the private gift given by US Ambassador J. William Middendorf to the former Dutch Prime Minister Willem Drees. After the death of Willem Drees, the Rijksmuseum acquired the gift and incorrectly assumed it is a moon rock, failing to double-check it. It was thought to be a moon rock for many years until 2009 when the museum realized that it is not a moon rock but a petrified wood.

The genuine moon rocks given to the Netherlands are still preserved and displayed in another museum, the Boerhaave Museum in Leiden. In fact, the Netherlands is one of the few countries where the location of both the Apollo 11 and Apollo 17 gift rocks is accounted for.