ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The mystery of Alaska's missing moon rocks has been solved. Getting them back to a state museum likely will depend on a judge.

Alaska officials are contesting a lawsuit filed by a former resident who claims he rescued the moon rocks from a garbage heap 38 years ago after a museum fire. Arthur C. Anderson, who goes by Coleman Anderson, sued in December for formal title to the rocks.

State officials contend the moon rocks were illegally taken from the Alaska Transportation Museum following the suspected arson fire in September 1973. They have filed a counterclaim seeking return of the rocks.

The moon rocks were brought to Earth in July 1969 on Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing. President Nixon presented each state and 136 countries with moon rocks.