Description

    UNCLASSIFIED NWA - ORIENTED STONE METEORITE RECOVERED BY NOMADS IN THE SAHARA
    Classification Unknown [density consistent with H chondrites]
    The Sahara Desert, near the Moroccan/Algerian Border
    Oriented meteorites are rare and occur only when the mass of a meteorite is distributed in such a way that it maintains the same vertical axis of orientation throughout its descent to Earth. Unlike 99.9% of all meteorites, oriented meteorites don't tumble as frictional heating commences in the thermosphere, seventy miles above Earth's surface. Oriented meteorites were extensively studied by rocket scientists, inspiring the atmospheric reentry technology of nuclear weapons and, later, the heat shield design for the first manned space capsules. The parabola seen here is the angle at which heat is most efficiently deflected away from a falling body and was emulated in the heat shield design of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo capsules. As an oriented meteorite plunges through the atmosphere, a low-pressure zone forms on its far side, which results in melting and boiling - a phenomenon evident on the reverse of the specimen now offered. Recovered by desert nomads and featuring a naturally sandblasted desert varnish, this is an extremely well-balanced rock from space. (See lot 49119 for an example of an oriented iron meteorite). 45 x 56 x 21mm (1.75 x 2.25 x 0.75 inches) and 90.9 grams.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2012
    14th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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