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Moon Rock Unveiling: The Importance of the Apollo 11 Astronauts' World Tour for Humankind

Moon rock was unveiled at the 2023’s United Nations Day Concert celebrations supported by PVBLIC Foundation.

The Apollo 11 mission marked a historic moment in human history when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the lunar surface on July 20, 1969; however, their contribution to science and diplomacy did not end with their moonwalk. In the months following the mission, Armstrong and Aldrin embarked on a remarkable world tour, which included a visit to the United Nations headquarters, bringing with them a priceless treasure - moon rocks collected during their historic mission. 54 years have passed since this important landmark in the collective memory, and many of these moon rocks have remained locked away in storage for decades. In the midst of the 2023 United Nations Day celebrations, PVBLIC Foundation hosted the moon rock unveiling from that Apollo 11 mission. PVBLIC supported the display, including the moon rock transportation to the UN Headquarters and on-sight security.


In this article, we will explore the significance of astronauts’ Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin tour and the importance of these moon rocks to humanity.


Following their triumphant return to Earth, the Apollo 11 astronauts embarked on a tour that took them to over 20 countries, promoting goodwill and spreading the message of peaceful cooperation among nations. Their mission was not only to celebrate their remarkable achievement but also to foster international collaboration in space exploration.


The United Nations Headquarters Visit:


One of the most iconic stops on this global tour was their visit to the United Nations headquarters in New York City on October 13, 1969. The astronauts were welcomed with enthusiasm and excitement as they presented a gift to the world community that transcended boundaries - a set of moon rocks.

From left to right: Neil A. Armstrong,  Michael Collins, Edwin E. Aldrin Jr.; U Thant with his grandson, Thant Myint-U; Aye Aye Myint-U, the Secretary-General's daughter; and her husband, Dr. Tyn Myint-U.

The moon rocks were collected during their historic lunar landing and held immense scientific and symbolic value. They were seen as tangible proof of humanity's ability to overcome monumental challenges and work together to achieve remarkable goals.

Thomas Paine, Administrator of the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the three Astronauts - Neil A. Armstrong; Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., and Michael Collins - who made the successful journey to the moon in Apollo 11 one year ago, today visited the United Nations in New York and, on the first anniversary of the historic voyage and moon landing, presented UN Secretary-General, U Thant, with a piece of lunar rock which was collected by the Astronauts, and a United Nations flag which accompanied them to the moon and back.

Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space Opens Twelfth Session; Hears Report by NASA Administrator on Apollo 11 Flight.

Where Are the Moon Rocks Now?


The moon rocks gifted to the United Nations were originally divided into small fragments and distributed to various nations as goodwill gestures. Some of these fragments remain in museums and scientific institutions around the world, where they continue to be used for research and educational purposes. Unfortunately, over the years, some of these moon rocks have been lost, stolen, or even sold on the black market, making their recovery a challenging endeavor.

Rock from the Moon on Display at United Nations Headquarters.

Yoo Soon-taek (second from right), wife of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, is admiring the moon rock exhibit item, during a tour of the United Nations Office in Vienna building, in Austria.

In 2019, on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, NASA initiated a project to locate and account for the missing moon rocks. While not all have been found, efforts to recover and preserve these historic artifacts continue.


Prior to the United Nations Day Concert on October 24th, PVBLIC Foundation hosted the Moon Rock Unveiling from that Apollo 11 mission led by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. PVBLIC supported the display, including the moon rock transportation to the UN Headquarters and on-sight security, as many of these moon rocks have been locked away in storage for decades. The location of the rocks has been tracked by researchers and hobbyists because of their rarity. In order to celebrate the 78th anniversary of the United Nations, PVBLIC Foundation held a short ceremony to reveal the Moon Rock to a group of VIP guests and representatives from the Family Offices for Sustainable Development (FOSD) network.

David Nicholas / From left to right: Sergio Fernández de Córdova, Executive Chairman for PVBLIC Foundation; Kerry Bannigan, President of the Board at PVBLIC Foundation and Stephen Keppel, President of PVBLIC Foundation.

The moon rocks brought back by the Apollo 11 astronauts hold significant importance to humanity for several reasons:


  1. Scientific Value: These lunar samples, including rock, dust, and regolith, provide a unique opportunity for scientists to study the moon's composition, history, and geology. They have helped advance our understanding of the moon's formation and evolution, as well as the history of our solar system.

  2. Technological Advancements: The Apollo 11 mission represented a groundbreaking technological achievement, and the moon rocks collected served as a testament to human ingenuity. The research and analysis of these samples led to advancements in various scientific fields and space exploration technologies.

  3. Symbol of Peace and Unity: The decision to share moon rocks with the international community at the United Nations was a powerful symbol of peace, diplomacy, and cooperation. The visit and the gift of these moon rocks reinforced the idea that space exploration could be a global endeavor, transcending political boundaries and fostering collaboration.


The Apollo 11 astronauts' world tour and their visit to the United Nations, complete with the presentation of moon rocks, left an indelible mark on history. These lunar samples are invaluable for their scientific worth. Additionally, their role in promoting international cooperation and the idea that space exploration can be a unifying endeavor for all of humanity, as well as other great ambitions, such as the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and a more equitable and just world for all. They are a demonstration of how humankind can make anything possible, when we apply ourselves to good works. As we continue to explore the cosmos, these moon rocks remain a symbol of our potential to transcend borders and work together for the betterment of all.

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