Description

    NWA 1950 - SUPERB SAMPLE OF EXOTIC MARTIAN METEORITE
    Martian (Shergottite) - SNC
    Sahara Desert, near Morocco - coordinates unknown
    When asteroids strike the surface of the Moon or Mars, portions of these planetary bodies are jettisoned into space - in much the same way that dust is launched into the air when a child jumps on his bed. Found in Morocco's Atlas Mountains in 2001, this is a lherzolitic shergottite, or a coarse-grained ultramafic igneous rock. In addition to exhibiting dozens of specific mineralogical and isotopic markers that point to Martian origin, Martian meteorites share the following fundamental characteristics: they exhibit an unusually young crystalline age (so they can't be from Earth); they contain water-bearing minerals (so they can't be from the asteroid belt, the origin of 99.9% of all meteorites); and there is evidence of a planetary sized gravitational field on their crystalline structure (which makes the most likely candidates of origin our two closest neighbors - Venus and Mars). The link to Mars was speculative until an analysis of the gas trapped in tiny bubbles of meteorites suspected to be from Mars revealed a perfect match with the atmospheric signature of the Red Planet. With two edges of fusion crust, this is a choice example of a superlative meteorite from the planet Mars. A copy of the scientific abstract on NWA 1950 in the Meteoritical Bulletin accompanies this lot. 67 x 51 x 2mm (2.66 x 2.0 x 0.1 inches) and 13.07 grams.

    Estimate: $15,000-$18,000

    INTRODUCTION TO MARTIAN METEORITES - Meteorites from Mars are among the most exotic substances on Earth. The determination of the Martian origin of select meteorites is the result of research conducted by hundreds of scientists throughout the world. In addition to many arcane markers, these unique meteorites share the following fundamental characteristics: they exhibit an unusually young crystalline age (so that cant' be from Earth); they contain water-bearing minerals (so they can't be from the asteroid belt - the place of origin of 99.9% of all meteorites); there is evidence of a planetary sized gravitational field on their crystalline structure (which makes the most likely candidates of origin our two closest neighbors - Venus and Mars). The link to Mars was speculative until an analysis was conducted on the glassy inclusions of a meteorite suspected to be of Martian origin. In this glass were tiny voids, and in these voids were tiny volumes of gas. In 1997 the technology existed to analyze the gas - and it matched perfectly with the signature of the Martian atmosphere as reported by NASA's Viking Missions to Mars. As is the case with lunar meteorites, the delivery mechanism was an asteroid impact, which jettisoned material off of the Martian surface into an Earth-intersecting orbit.




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    Auction Dates
    October, 2012
    14th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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