Relic of first moon landing stolen from Neil Armstrong museum

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A golden replica of the first lunar module has been stolen from the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio.

The Wapakoneta police department responded to a museum alarm late Friday night to discover the mini 5 inch high and 4.5 inch square solid gold replica stolen.

A Wapakoneta native, Neil Armstrong was presented with the solid gold replica in Paris, along with fellow astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, a little while after their ground breaking space mission. Only three such replicas were produced by Cartier, the French jewelry company, one for each of the astronauts.

Police say the worth of the replica is indeterminate, but the theft is garnering the attention of the FBI and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, who are assisting local Wapakoneta authorities in the investigation.

Armstrong, the first person to step foot on the moon, died in 2012 at the age of 82. He was born in Wakaponeta on August 5, 1930. A mere three years after his legendary 1969 moon landing, the little Ohio town opened up the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in his honor.

Six lunar modules landed on the moon between the years of 1969 and 1972 and a seventh provided the life saving oxygen and propulsion that allowed the crew of the fateful Apollo 13 mission to make a safe emergency Earth landing. The total cost of building the first Lunar Module (LM) was a whopping $21.1 billion in 2016 dollars, adjusting from a nominal total of $2.2 billion using the NASA New Start Inflation indices. It was money well spent, however, as the LM became one of the most reliable components of the Apollo/Saturn space vehicle.

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