Today the United States donated a lunar sample, mounted on a commemorative plaque, to the people of Cyprus. The sample was collected in December 1972 during the Apollo 17 mission to the Moon. In collaboration with the Cyprus Space Exploration Organization (CSEO), the United States conducted public outreach for Cypriots to learn about and view the sample prior to its formal donation to the Republic of Cyprus. The donation is a symbol of the scientific aspirations and collaboration of our countries and a tangible symbol of the 2022 renewal of the 10-year Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement between the United States and the Republic of Cyprus.
The donation of the lunar geological sample will serve as another token of the strong bonds between the two countries, said the President of the House of Representatives Anita Demetriou on Monday at a ceremony held at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, in the presence of the American Ambassador to Cyprus Judith Garber and Deputy Minister for Research and Innovation Kyriacos Kokkinos.
In his recorded message prior to the donation, NASA Associate Administrator Bob Cabana said that Apollo XVII astronauts brought back this tangible piece of our nearest celestial neighbour to be shared with the world as an act of goodwill, adding that the success of the recent uncrewed Artemis mission has paved the way for future missions, which will include the first woman and the first person of colour on the surface of the moon.
US Ambassador Judith Garber said for her part that the people of the United States are proud to donate this unique piece of space exploration history to the people of the Republic of Cyprus as a commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo XVII mission and in recognition of the deepening scientific and technical relationships between the two countries.
She added that a shining example of this cooperation was the selection last week of a Cypriot team as one of the ten global winners of the 2022 NASA Space Apps challenge out of 3,000 project submissions.
Quoting Apollo XVII mission commander Eugene Cernan, Garber said that as fragments of all sizes, shapes and colours became a cohesive rock outlasting the nature of space, sort of living together in a coherent and peaceful manner, the United States shared a piece of this rock with many countries around the world with the hope it will be a symbol of mankind that can live in peace and harmony.
“As I am preparing to say farewell to Cyprus, I know the same hope can be found here. Cyprus can and should live in peace and harmony in the future and that will require continued and persistent efforts by us all together,” she concluded.
Acting President of the Republic and President of the House of Representatives Annita Demetriou said that the lunar geological sample will serve as another token of the strong bonds that unite and characterize the two countries and their people.