Joe Biden will keep extraterrestrial object from 1972 inside Oval Office

Newly-elected US President Joe Biden has put a piece of moon rock on display inside his White House Oval Office "in recognition of earlier generations’ ambitions and accomplishments", it has been revealed.

Barack Obama's former Vice President became the 46th President of the US on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, when he took the oath of office at his inauguration ceremony, which was not attended by his predecessor Donald Trump.

President Biden quickly got to work within the White House, signing 17 executive orders on his first day and has already set about making the Oval Office his own as well.

Images of Mr Biden's Oval Office show he's replaced several pieces of artwork, a few statues and the rug.

And Mr Biden has also loaned a piece of moon rock from NASA which will go on display in a case which is enscribed: "Lunar Sample 76015,143."

The sample was collected by Apollo 17 astronaut Ronald Evans and moonwalkers Harrison Schmitt and Eugene Cernan, who were the last humans to set foot on the Moon in 1972.

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A statement on the US Embassy website said: "In symbolic recognition of earlier generations’ ambitions and accomplishments, and support for America’s current Moon to Mars exploration approach, a Moon rock now sits in the Oval Office of the White House.

"At the request of the incoming Biden Administration, NASA loaned the Moon rock that was put on display in the Oval Office January 20. It is from the Lunar Sample Laboratory Facility at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

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"Apollo 17 astronaut Ronald Evans and moonwalkers Harrison Schmitt and Eugene Cernan, the last humans to set foot on the Moon, chipped this sample from a large boulder at the base of the North Massif in the Taurus-Littrow Valley, 3 km (almost 2 miles) from the Lunar Module.

"This 332 gram piece of the Moon (less than a pound), which was collected in 1972, is a 3.9-billion-year-old sample formed during the last large impact event on the nearside of the Moon, the Imbrium Impact Basin, which is 1,145 km or 711.5 miles in diameter.

"The irregular sample surfaces contain tiny craters created as micrometeorite impacts have sand-blasted the rock over millions of years.

"The flat, sawn sides were created in NASA’s Lunar Curation Laboratory when slices were cut for scientific research. This ongoing research is imperative as we continue to learn about our planet and the Moon, and prepare for future missions to the cislunar orbit and beyond."

Other changes President Biden has made to the Oval Office include hanging paintings of former president Thomas Jefferson and former treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton near each other.

The two men frequently disagreed and were placed together to illustrate the benefits that come from differing views.

Biden’s office said the paintings were twinned as “hallmarks of how differences of opinion, expressed within the guardrails of the Republic, are essential to democracy.”

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