It’s almost too good to be true. In John Layman’s Chew government organizations not usually known for being particularly badass (FDA, Department of Agriculture, etc.) are turned into FBI-esque units responsible for enforcing their group's interests.
The concept is mostly played up for laughs, like in Chew #27 and I was more than a little skeptical when I heard that a woman selling moon rocks was busted by, you guessed it, an undercover agent of NASA.
They couldn’t actually arrest her, but they did detain her while they verified what she was selling was in fact lunar material. It’s so sci-fi that it blows my ecstatic little mind!
This isn’t even the first time NASA has had to investigate stolen moon rocks, and the link from Space.com actually details the history of NASA crime fighting.
How did the rocks escape from NASA in the first place? There have been many different instances, each more ridiculous than the last. Pieces have been stolen from couriers (also a problem for comic artists), sold by profiteering Honduran military officials, and even a group of students that carried out a heist and stole a safe containing lunar and Martian samples (I couldn’t make this up, and yes the movie is in the works).
The rocks are considered a National Treasure, and even though NASA has given pieces out as diplomatic gifts to other nations, not even the Apollo astronauts were allowed to keep a piece for themselves. Besides a few meteorites that found their way to Earth naturally and some rocks returned by a Soviet probe, all moon rocks on Earth are US property.
So if you’re not reading Chew, you’re missing out on great comics and you’re literally missing out on the FUTURE! Also, be wary if someone offers you any rocks from space, that stuff is serious. You aren’t NASA are you? Because you gotta tell me if you are!