Rare lunar meteorite found in Sahara desert, on sale for Rs 18 Crore
Christies presents NWA 12691, an important moon rock, among the largest known. Moon rock is among the rarest substances on Earth, with less than 650 kg of known lunar meteorites.
This example is the fifth largest chunk of the Moon on Earth, larger than any returned by the Apollo program. Worth around £ 2million, the specimen is available for immediate purchase through Christie’s Private Sales.
Lunar meteorites arrived on Earth after being thrown from the lunar surface by collision with an asteroid or comet. All of the large craters on the Moon were created by such impacts. This particular meteorite was part of a large meteor shower straddling the borders of Western Sahara, Algeria and Mauritania, responsible for almost half of all known lunar meteorites.
About 30 different meteorites were collected, analyzed, classified and assigned different NWA numbers in the belief that they could originate from different events and represent different lunar samples; but it has been determined that they all originate from the same lunar impact event as the current supply, NWA 12691, found in the Sahara Desert two years ago.
James Hyslop, Christie’s Director of Science and Natural History: “I’ve had the good fortune to handle a few lunar meteorites at Christie’s over the years, but every time I see this specimen in the warehouse, the size of It upsets me. Weighing over 13.5 kg, it is so much bigger than anything that has ever been offered before. The experience of holding a piece of another world in your hands is something you will never forget. “
Scientists identify moon rocks by their specific textural, mineralogical, chemical and isotopic signatures. Many common minerals found on Earth are rare or absent on the Moon, while some lunar minerals are unknown on Earth. Additionally, lunar rocks contain gases picked up by the solar wind with very different isotope ratios from the same gases found on Earth.
Christie’s will also be offering a set of 13 aesthetic iron meteorites for private sale. Fashioned by ground and extraterrestrial forces, this set of natural sculptures forms one of the most important collections of aesthetic iron meteorites in private hands. The collection, valued at around £ 1.4million, is available for immediate purchase through Christie’s Private Sales.
Millennia ago unknown – the exact date is lost for prehistoric times – an object weighing more than 26,000 kg crashed on Earth. It originally formed 4.5 billion years ago from the nucleus of a planetary-like body located between Mars and Jupiter, the shattered remains of which are now part of the asteroid belt. An impact event ejected what would become Gibeon’s mass into interplanetary space before it descended to Earth, exploding into the atmosphere and raining down on what is now the Kalahari Desert.