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That time NASA gave Michigan a piece of the moon and it wound up in a garage

plaque with michigan flag
Courtesy of the Michigan History Center
NASA astronauts took this Michigan flag with them to the moon and back, and presented it to the state along with a moon rock in 1972.

The federal government may have orchestrated the United State's history-making voyage to the moon in 1969, but the states weren't left out entirely. The crew of Apollo 11 took all 50 state flags along for the ride, and then returned each flag to its owner with an added gift: a moon rock.

Michigan’s moon rock was given to Governor William Milliken, and it sat in his garage for years afterward. Then, in the late 1980s, Milliken's family delivered it to the Michigan History Center, where it's now on exhibit. 

"The entire display that was presented to Governor Milliken is intact," said Rachel Clark of the Michigan History Center.

The center also has a state flag the Apollo 14 mission took to the moon in 1971. But the moon rock collection gifted to Michigan after the Apollo 17 mission in 1972 is nowhere to be found. 

This segment is produced in partnership with the Michigan History Center.

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