I’m happy to be able to report to you that New York’s Apollo 17 Goodwill Moon Rock is safe and sound at the State Museum.

This may come as some surprise to certain space-obsessed Websites (such as this one) that are devoted entirely to tracking the fragments of moon rock sample 70017 that were collected by Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt at the end of their third and final moonwalk and handed out by the Nixon administration in 1972.

According to these sites, the whereabouts of New York’s rock – which is actually encased in an acrylic button and mounted on a plaque along with the state flag (also flown to the moon) – is unknown.

This worried me, and so I called the state Education Department’s press office, which handles inquiries for the State Museum – the most logical landing place for a moon rock that I could think of, although some states have reported locating their moon rocks in odd places, like ceremonial offices or long-forgotten locked filing cabinets.

SED spokesman Jonathan Burman assured me the rock is indeed “safe and secure” in the museum’s collection. It is under lock and key and not on display due to its high dollar value.

As it turns out, after Apollo 17 returned to earth, Nixon ordered moon rocks distributed to 135 foreign heads of state, the 50 U.S. states and its provinces, and many have since been lost in the ether.

This is kind of a big deal. According to NASA, only 843 pounds of moon rock exist on Earth, which means these little babies are very, very valuable, worth upwards of $10 million (or, if you prefer, enough to make a nice-sized dent in the state budget deficit).

The Apollo 17 rocks and another round collected during the Apollo 11 mission, which were also distrubuted to the 50 states, are among the only specimens ever given out as gifts by NASA. (I have so far been unable to vouch for the whereabouts of the Apollo 11 moon rock – still efforting).

Among the missing rocks is the one that was given to the state of Arkansas, or rather, it WAS missing. Until this week, that is, when the rock was located among memorabilia belonging to former President Bill Clinton when he was in he governor’s office.

No one is exactly quite certain how the moon rock ended up in Clinton’s stuff. A worker stumbled upon it while cataloging materials from Clinton’s governorship, which includes some 2,000 boxes of archived documents.