Lunar Meteorite, Found in Northwest Africa, Sold for More than $600,000

[Image Credit: Pixabay]


A lunar meteorite that was found last year in northwest Africa has been sold for US$612,500, according to the Associated Press.

The chunk of moon weighed 12 pounds (5.5 Kg), and composed of six fragments (largest fragment weighing about 6 pounds). It was discovered in Mauritania in northwest Africa, and unofficially called the “The Moon Puzzle.” According to experts, this out-of-this-world rock piece was highly valuable because of its large size and its “partial fusion crust” created by the tremendous heat that sears the rock as it falls to Earth.

A lunar meteorite is a meteorite which originates on the Moon. These rock pieces are launched from the Moon by impacts making lunar craters of a few kilometers in diameter or less. So far, scientists haven’t got success in identifying the source crater of lunar meteorites. Scientists also believe that all lunar meteorites were ejected from the Moon in the past 20 million years (most leaving the Moon in past 100,000 years). These rocks then start orbiting the Earth (although some also get launched into Sun’s orbit) and eventually enter the Earth’s atmosphere due to Earth’s gravity.

On Friday, Boston-based RR Auction firm revealed that the winning bid of $612,500 for the moon rock came from a representative working with the Tam Chuc Pagoda complex in Ha Nam Province, Vietnam. The meteorite was earlier thought to fetch $500,000 at the auction. RR revealed that this rock piece was one of the biggest pieces of the moon ever put up for sale in an auction. The auction ran from October 11 until October 18.

“As soon as we saw this, we knew it was extraordinarily unusual,” said Geoff Notkin, star of television’s “Meteorite Men,” the CEO of Aerolite Meteorites, which sold the rock.

“This is close to a once-in-a-lifetime find.”

According to Notkin, most lunar meteorites found on Earth are mostly not bigger than a walnut or golf ball.