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Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History

3.35  ·  Rating Details ·  5,767 Ratings  ·  933 Reviews
Thad Roberts, a fellow in a prestigious NASA program had an idea—a romantic, albeit crazy, idea. He wanted to give his girlfriend the moon. Literally.

Thad convinced his girlfriend and another female accomplice, both NASA interns, to break into an impregnable laboratory at NASA—past security checkpoints, an electronically locked door with cipher security codes, and camera-
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published July 12th 2011 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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May 07, 2011 Drew rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
An interesting story about Thad Roberts and several co-conspirators who stole a number of valuable samples of moon rocks from the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Some reviewers have compared the chronicled escapade to a spacey version of "Oceans 11." I think that is giving a bit too much credit to both Roberts and Mezrich. While an interesting story about the theft of a national treasure, the fact that three interns could steal such valuable material, makes NASA look like a bunch of bumbling id ...more
Oct 02, 2011 Nancy rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 08, 2012 Mainon rated it liked it
I know some people have issues with Ben Mezrich (author of Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions and The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, both of which, by the way, were made into decent movies). I'm not terribly familiar with the controversy, but I think it has something to do with him taking liberties with the facts and still calling it nonfiction.

I have absolutely zero independent knowledge about the real-life events tha
Jul 22, 2011 Mike rated it it was amazing
I am a big Ben Mezrich fand and have read all of his books. To me, Sex on the Moon is his best work and shows his maturity as a writer. He has a very distinct style and voice that I think I would instantly recognize anywhere. In this book, that style seems to hum.

One thing I like about all his books is that he captures the excitement and unlimited-seeming possibilities that go with graduating from college and deciding what you want to do with your life. I don't know many other authors who have c
Aug 06, 2011 David rated it liked it
Sex on the Moon is not about sex on the Moon, but it is about a bright but troubled NASA intern, named Thad Roberts, who decided to throw away a promising career for himself and three friends to steal a small amount of Apollo Moon rocks. The whole story is told from the perspective of Thad, by Mezrich, in a well written and very engaging fashion. In the beginning I felt some compassion for the young Roberts as he deals with an overly strict family life and there is an undercurrent through the st ...more
Gary Schroeder
Aug 08, 2011 Gary Schroeder rated it it was ok
This is a manuscript for a movie. In recent interviews Ben Mezrich has been very open about that. He writes books from the very beginning in the hopes that they will be optioned for movies. And it shows.

Mezrich, author of "The Accidental Billionaires," the book upon which the Facebook movie "The Social Network" was based, went in search of his next great true-story thriller. What he settled on was the tale of Thad Roberts, a student enrolled in NASA's Cooperative Education Program who turned thi
Aug 14, 2011 Nancy rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maureen M
Aug 15, 2011 Maureen M rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, reviews
Thad Roberts is smart enough to get into an elite internship program at NASA and daring enough to sneak into off-limits parts of the Johnson Space Center. But when he puts those smarts and daring together and decides to steal and sell moon rocks, you find yourself yelling at him, "What are you thinking?!" Ben Mezrich answers that question in "Sex on the Moon," a ripping yarn of the crime of the Space Age. Mezrich is the author of the book that became the hit movie "The Social Network." Here he h ...more
Aug 22, 2011 Zachary rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Mezrich does a great job telling this true story in a suspenseful fiction-style narrative. The book was hard to put down, even though I didn't find the main character to be very sympathetic: his inner life, at least as described by the author, was repellingly superficial, and it was sad to watch his pathological need for social approval drive him to commit such a colossally pointless crime.
Sep 16, 2011 Josephine rated it liked it
Some reviewers have likened the true story behind Ben Mezrich’s “Sex on the Moon” to “Ocean’s Eleven” — which I take issue with because, while Thad Roberts was smart enough to get into Houston’s Johnson Space Center Cooperative Program, there was no real finesse to how he orchestrated the heist to steal “used” moon rocks that were destined for the trash.

When I heard author Mezrich on John Tory’s show on The Live Drive, I had the same reaction that most people probably had when they hear about th
Cassi aka Snow White Haggard
I feel like the summary of this book is misleading and that's my biggest problem with this book. This is NOT a story about a man who wants to give his girlfriend the moon.

This is the story of a brilliant nasa coop, raised and banished by Mormon parents, living from bill to bill, who loses track of himself, of his beautiful wife, and screws up his life. He's thinking of stealing and selling the moon rocks before he even has a girlfriend. I really don't like it when synopsis trick you like this.

Oct 05, 2011 Tami rated it liked it
Mezrich's retelling of the true story of Thad Roberts' theft of 101 grams of moon rocks insists on painting Roberts as a modern-day Robin Hood who just helped himself to some scraps, that NASA itself had labeled as "trash", as a grand gesture of love towards a woman. But I wasn't convinced. I saw him more as self-centered and egotistical, so amazed by his own IQ that he felt "entitled".

Although based on the actual events, the book is fictionalized to read like a novel. But as such, it was disapp
Oct 20, 2011 Stefanie rated it liked it
Three stars is being very generous; two and a half would be more accurate. Although the core of the story is interesting--how could the theft of moon rocks from the heart of NASA not be?--the lead-up to the crime takes blooming forever. You know what? We the readers do not need to know about every group excursion Thad planned between his start at NASA and the crime, among other things. The chapter openers that went into intense descriptions of ultimately mundane details got old quickly too. Some ...more
Lisa Nelson
Dec 03, 2011 Lisa Nelson rated it liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: Mom
Currently Goodreads has this book rated at an average of 3.34. That sounds about right to me.

My Mom insisted that I read this book a couple of weeks ago and I'm glad I picked it up. The story was interesting to me for several reasons. First, I knew the main character Thad Roberts had Mormon roots and that part of the story intrigued me. Next, I love a good heist. Lastly, I am pretty sure this is the first book I have ever read about NASA and Johnson Space Center and I really enjoyed learning mo
Nov 21, 2011 Marci rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 16, 2011 Becca rated it did not like it
I borrowed this book from the kindle lending library because there is no way I am putting money into a fund that enriches the moon rock-thief Thad in any way shape or form.

This book is written in typical Ben Mezrich style which makes it a fun and almost believable read, and for any Johnson Space Center employee, you will laugh out loud when you read it... mostly due to the lack of basic fact checking. How hard was it for the editors to hire a fact checker anyway? And we're not talking just exag
Andy Shuping
Dec 29, 2011 Andy Shuping rated it it was ok
I received this book as part of LibraryThing's early review program.

It's taken me this long to write the review because it took me this long to plow my way through the book. There was absolutely nothing really enjoyable at all about it for me. First of all is the title. I mean seriously, this is supposed to be the most audacious heist in history? I mean if he was writing about the theft of the Mona Lisa then sure. But this? Not hardly.

And then we move onto the hero/criminal of the story, Thad Ro
Feb 19, 2012 Pb rated it it was amazing
The title of “Sex on the Moon” is a celebration of the moment when Thad Roberts and his girlfriend become the first people to have sex on top of moon rocks – the booty of their recent heist. I am intrigued by the first half of the book. Thad, the main character, is an overly precocious coop student at NASA Johnston Space Center. Thad dreams of being an astronaut on Mars. He has amazing adventures like being in the space shuttle simulator during a test and working in the big tank that is the larg ...more
May 11, 2012 Ainsley rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: My enemies
Shelves: it-sucked
It's one thing to read a detailed description of a sexual encounter in a work of fiction or even in a work of non-fiction, provided that the author of the piece is one of the participants in the act. But reading some writer's trite and heavy-handed account of sexual acts that supposedly took place between two other people? Eeeeeeew.

Add the considerable ick factor to generally lousy writing, poor research and the author's addiction to hyperbole (and stupid titles), and you have one crappy book.
Oct 19, 2012 Ann rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I had high expectations of this book. It had so many of the elements I like : a daring heist - science- outer space....It came with impeccable credentials, in the shape of a highly respected author (Ben Mezrich). And yet, I can't give this book more than 2 stars. And that is simply because I feel it violates one of the most central dogmas of the genre : get multiple perspectives. The story of Thad Roberts, a gifted NASA intern, who decided to steal some precious moon rocks from a NASA lab in ord ...more
Aug 29, 2012 Beth rated it liked it
The book is about an intelligent young man, Thad Roberts, who became a co-op (like an intern) for Johnson Space Center in Houston. With aspirations of becoming an astronaut and eventually the first man to set foot on Mars, he was overjoyed to have this opportunity. Raised as a Mormon, his family disowned him when he was booted out of the missionary program. He and his girlfriend married young and didn't have much money. Feeling insecure, Thad decided to reinvent himself at NASA and spent time or ...more
Sep 03, 2012 Cameron rated it really liked it
The fascinating story of a Mormon kid turned NASA intern turned cat burglar makes for a great read. Especially when the basis for the whole thing is, what else, love. The author does a great job of telling the story of Thad Roberts, the man who brazenly stole several million dollars worth of moon rocks from a NASA lab based on the romantic ideal of giving his girlfriend the moon, in a way that makes him relatable and tragic. Yet it does not delve too far, and even with the one-sidedness of the a ...more
Jan 16, 2013 Haley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Let's be clear about one thing: this book will (or at least should) make a terrific movie. The story of Thad Roberts' multi-million-dollar NASA heist is fascinating, exciting, and surprisingly under-reported. All the ingredients for the the next big blockbuster are there: a brilliant but troubled protagonist, a passionate love story, and a high-stakes robbery--all set against the larger-than-life backdrop of the NASA Johnson Space Center. The facts of the story are, all in all, super cool--that' ...more
Feb 09, 2013 Norah rated it liked it
I don't think a book about a heist is supposed to make the reader sad. I think it's supposed to be exciting to live vicariously through the daring thief. Of course, you understand that he will get caught. But that's part of the life of crime, right? And while in prison he can read philosophy, plot his daring escape, and eventually end up living on a private island, sipping margaritas.

But this book -- it made me sad. Why? I suppose because it wasn't about a daring, charming criminal who pulled of
Jun 03, 2013 Julie rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fic
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jill Heather
Jul 28, 2013 Jill Heather rated it it was ok
Despite the author's best efforts, he doesn't make Thad even slightly sympathetic. It's also not clear that he spoke to the other two major people in the heist (according to Thad, they were involved but everyone pretended they were seduced at trial, but this is hard to believe), who are described mostly as being really beautiful and awesome looking in a bikini. (All the women are described based on how totally hot they are -- it's really shocking that every single NASA scientists who is a woman ...more
Allow me to begin by firmly stating that in my oh so humble opinion, having sex in a bed with a stolen moon rock 1. is weird and creepy (not to mention potentially dangerous- are moon rocks scratchy?) and 2. is NOT the same thing as having sex on the actual moon. If you had sex on a down comforter would you run around telling people you had sex on a goose? I'd hope not for a whole host of reasons, but that's beside the point.

It's hard to truly communicate my level of disdain/dislike for this boo
Mar 04, 2016 Lauren rated it did not like it
It was a struggle to read and finish this book.

For this to be a book about “The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History” it would have to live somewhere in the realm of truth, and I’m sad to say that the only truth in this book is that the intern at NASA’s JSC, Thad Roberts, stole a safe with 100 grams of lunar samples during his third tour. Everything else is embellished and fictionalized to the point of fantasy trying to turn a felony into a romanticized adventure.

“…winding b
Josh Childs
Jun 10, 2016 Josh Childs rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
For his next act, the author will express the story of Rasputin as a Hardy Boys adventure novel.
Lance Charnes
Sep 25, 2016 Lance Charnes rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: true-crime addicts deep in withdrawal with few other options
Ultimately, a heist book is all about the heist. Fiction or non-fiction, the reason we put up with scurvy dogs and bad decision-making is to read about how they did it: how our miscreant lead characters beat the system/alarms/Mob/cops/whatever to rip off whatever it is they took. The more complicated or ingenious or risky, the better.

The back-cover copy of Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History promises a helluva heist: a NASA intern grabs "the rarest obj
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Ben Mezrich has created his own highly addictive genre of nonfiction, chronicling the amazing stories of young geniuses making tons of money on the edge of impossibility, ethics, and morality.

With his newest non-fiction book, Once Upon a Time in Russia, Mezrich tells his most incredible story yet: A true drama of obscene wealth, crime, rivalry, and betrayal from deep inside the world of billionair
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