The story behind Ben Mezrich’s book Sex on the Moon was presented as a lecture at Salt Lake Community College’s Taylorsville Redwood Campus September 21. Thad Roberts, the subject of the book, spoke in the Student Event Center about how he stole moon rocks from NASA and spent 100 months in federal prison for the crime.
“Everyone is interested in the story. I’m here to tell the ups and downs of the story, in the hopes that people will take away from it a spark that will help them follow their own dreams,” said Roberts.
Approximately 40 students were in attendance for the address, mostly because it sounded interesting to them.
“I’m here because I support student activities, it just sounds interesting,” said graphic design student Jordan Gough.
“I don’t know why I’m here, it sounded interesting,” said general studies student Mercedes Bowden.
Roberts started his address by telling the audience about his life as a young man in Syracuse, Utah. He told the audience about his education, his wide range of interests and his desire to be an astronaut.
He went on to talk about his applying, and subsequent hiring, to NASA. Roberts worked with personnel who decided on the astronauts. He wanted to know what it was like inside a space shuttle, so he acted like he was supposed to be at the simulator in order to be let in.
Roberts then discussed the divorce from his wife, with the main reason being each of them were taking different life paths. Not long after his divorce, he met another woman named Tiffany. At this point he began to tell the story of how he decided to steal moon rocks for Tiffany’s love.
The description of how Roberts and his accomplices stole a 600 pound safe full of moon rocks from a NASA compound held the audience’s attention, including how he acquired a pass code to get into a secured area, and how they escaped the compound driving just five miles an hour.
Eventually Roberts and his accomplices were arrested for the theft. He told the audience that being informed of his 100-month prison sentence was actually a relief after all the time spent wondering and stressing over what would happen to him. After answering a couple of questions from the audience, Roberts emphasized that what he did was a bad mistake and he had to pay for it.