Newly sworn-in US President Joe Biden’s Oval Office decor has a lunar sample from Apollo 17 on display above his 19th-century oak ‘Resolute desk’. NASA loaned the moon rock, Lunar sample 76015,143, a remnant from a violent asteroid impact to the incoming Biden administration which the 46th president has decorated in his office. The rock belongs to the Lunar Sample Laboratory Facility at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and its display case is inscribed with: ‘Lunar Sample 76015,143’.
According to reports, the White House staff revamped the Oval Office while President Biden was taking the oath at the Capitol. The staff installed the alien artifact, the large moon rock as well as a bust of labour organizer Caesar Chavez behind the resolute desk, sculpture by the Indigenous artist Allan Houser, a portrait of the former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, portraits of founding fathers Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, paintings of Washington and Abraham Lincoln, and busts of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, and a portrait of President Andrew Jackson, among many other artistic pieces. The moon rock, however, now represents a symbolic significance of the space agencies and America’s current Moon to Mars exploration aims as the 332-gram piece sits in the oval office.
A piece of the same Moon rock (100557) also sits in Biden's Oval Office. The Moon rock is stationed on a bookshelf near a painting of Benjamin Franklin. Both represent Biden’s interest in following science. Science rocks in the White House these days! https://t.co/ejdKWtUJuw pic.twitter.com/Rk8Y8wBU8S— Jeffrey Gillis-Davis (@JGillisDavis) January 21, 2021
“Apollo 17 astronaut Ronald Evans and moonwalkers Harrison Schmitt and Eugene Cernan, the last humans to set foot on the Moon, chipped this sample from a large boulder at the base of the North Massif in the Taurus-Littrow Valley, 3 km (almost 2 miles) from the Lunar Module,” NASA informed in a release. It added, that the rock, less than a pound, was collected by the astronaut in 1972 and is a 3.9-billion-year-old sample formed during the last large impact event on the nearside of the moon, the Imbrium Impact Basin, which is 1,145 km or 711.5 miles in diameter.
“The irregular sample surfaces contain tiny craters created as micrometeorite impacts have sand-blasted the rock over millions of years,” the space agency said. NASA’s Lunar Curation Laboratory created the moon rock’s flat, sawn sides and used the remains for scientific research. “ This ongoing research is imperative as we continue to learn about our planet and the Moon, and prepare for future missions to the cislunar orbit and beyond,” the space agency explained.