Cyprus close to getting its moon rock from Apollo 17 mission that vanished 40 years ago

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A piece of moon rock destined for Cyprus that disappeared 40 years ago could finally be on its way to the Mediterranean island nation.

A Cyprus Foreign Ministry official said Wednesday U.S. authorities are favorably considering a Cyprus government request for the rock, which was returned to NASA recently. The official, who insisted on anonymity because he's not authorized to speak to the media, said it will take some time before the rock is handed over because the process still has to clear some bureaucratic hurdles.

With Cyprus reeling from war and internal strife in 1974, the country never received the rock — one of 270 such lunar samples U.S. astronauts brought back from moon missions in 1969 and 1972 — that the Nixon administration had gifted to foreign countries.