[meteorite-list] Fossils and Meteorites

From: Francis Graham <francisgraham_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:42:06 2004
Message-ID: <20010127223407.29359.qmail_at_web2901.mail.yahoo.com>

Dear List,
  Some of this opinion was mentioned before by other
list commentators, but I want to share mine, in
reference to the concern that meteorites will soon
come under the same laws as fossils.
  There is a simple way governments and scientists
concerned with the rarity of meteorites and their
disappearance into private hands can remedy the
situation. They can go into outer space and get more
from an inexhaustible supply on major planets and in
the asteroid belt. If not today, then tomorrow. The
stuff will be there for the taking.
  There are only so many prehistoric animals that have
been fossilized, and once that is gone, it's over.
There's then maybe some rationale for laws forcing
fossil collectors to yield their treasures up for
scientific scrutiny. But for meteorites, no one can
claim rarity, since they are out there in vast
  Having said that, do I think that this philosophy of
finders keepers will be borne out? No. As someone once
said, (forgive me, I forget his name) it is cheaper
for the US to maintain space superiority by making
sure no-one else goes to the moon than by returning to
the moon ourselves. Then, sadly, lunar meteorites will
become valuable property and governments will try to
get a percentage on the value-- 100% if they can.
  Who, in 1960, would have guessed, in 2001 we would
be looking and fighting for the rights to have moon
and mars rocks that are found on Earth? Sure seems
strange to an old futurist like me!

Francis Graham

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Received on Sat 27 Jan 2001 05:34:07 PM PST

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