Description

    NWA 5000 - PARTIAL SLICE OF THE MOON
    Feldspathic Breccia from the Lunar Highlands - LUN
    Morocco - coordinates unknown
    Researchers have determined that asteroids pummeling the Moon in the early years of our solar system propelled chunks of the lunar surface into outer space. Anything on the Moon's surface that has been accelerated to the lunar escape velocity of 1.5 miles/second (approximately 3x the muzzle velocity of a rifle) will escape the Moon's gravitational influence - and, at times, find its way to Earth. As only 0.1% of all meteorites are from the Moon, lunar meteorites are among the rarest naturally occurring substances on Earth. This is a small partial slice of NWA 5000, the largest meteorite to have originated from the Moon's lunar highlands. NWA 5000 is mineralogically and texturally unique among feldspathic lunar meteorites, as it contains large fragments of metal. These fragments must have originated from an impact of an iron asteroid-one of several impacts responsible for the repeated fragmentation and fusion of those fragments resulting in the gorgeous brecciation seen here. (To see another example of metal injected into a substrate on impact, see lot 49019.) The scientific abstract on NWA 5000 accompanies this specimen. 24 x 23 x 4mm (1 x 1 x 0.2 inches) and 5.147 grams.

    Estimate: $4,500-$5,500

    INTRODUCTION TO LUNAR METEORITES - The following six lots are portions of the Moon authenticated by renowned scientists. Lunar samples are readily identified by their highly specific geological, mineralogical, chemical and radiation signatures. Lunar minerals were formed in a weak gravitational field, absence of water, with no free oxygen, and have been altered through exposure to cosmic radiation. The minerals comprising the Moon's crust are limited. Lunar specimens contain gases originating from the solar wind with isotope ratios that are markedly different than the same gases found on Earth (also a result of cosmic radiation).

    When asteroids strike the Moon's surface, chunks of the Moon are launched into space in much the same way that dust is launched into the air when a child dives onto a bed. One merely needs to view the craters of the Moon to imagine the number of asteroids whose impact would have provided sufficient energy to eclipse the Moon's gravitational influence and launch surface material into space.

    Less than 0.1% of all meteorites recovered are lunar in origin, with less than 150 pounds of meteorites originating from the Moon known to exist. Lunar meteorites are so scarce, and so difficult to identify, that not one example has ever been found in Europe, or either of the American continents. Every single lunar meteorite recovery to date has been from a desert where such meteorites are more readily identified (including the cold desert of Antarctica, where precipitation is negligible).

    Of the 79 distinct lunar meteorites known, 20 were found by scientists searching in Antarctica. Owned by a consortium of countries, not one gram of Antarctic material will ever be available to the private sector. (Nor will the U.S. government ever release a single gram of the 380 kg of Moon rocks recovered by Apollo astronauts.)

    Moving onto the fourth largest lunar meteorite known to exist, Dar al Gani (DaG) 1058 - the larger piece of the Moon to grace a public offering.


    Condition Report*:

    Condition report available upon request.

    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2012
    14th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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