Ex-Astronaut Mitchell Says Moon Camera Was a NASA Gift

By CURT ANDERSON | July 20, 2011 | 11:14 AM EDT

MIAMI (AP) — Former astronaut Edgar Mitchell says a camera he brought back from the Apollo 14 moon mission was given to him by NASA despite the space agency's lawsuit seeking its return.

Court papers filed in Florida federal court urge a judge to dismiss NASA's claims for the camera. Mitchell says he unbolted the camera from the lunar module before the astronauts returned to earth to preserve the tape inside. Mitchell says NASA later told him he could keep it.

NASA sued earlier this month contending it has no record that the camera was transferred to Mitchell.

The 80-year-old Mitchell is one of 12 people to walk on the moon. Since retiring in 1971, Mitchell has focused on exploring the mind, physics, space aliens and ways of linking religion with science.