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    Achondrite (Martian, olivine-phyric shergottite)
    Tata, Morocco

    As was reported extensively by the media, on July 18, 2011 a meteorite shower occurred near Tissint, Morocco which scientists confirmed consisted of chunks of the planet Mars. Said Dr. Caroline Smith of London's Natural History Museum (formerly the British Museum of Natural History), "This meteorite is the most important meteorite to have landed on planet Earth in the last 100 years. It was picked up soon after it fell and has absolutely minimal contamination. It is effectively a pristine sample of Mars." Dr. Smith was interviewed following the Museum's acquisition of a 1.1 kilogram specimen of Tissint from the Macovich and Falling Rocks Collections. The Macovich Collection also provided the Smithsonian with a large Tissint specimen. The next two Tissint offerings are also from the Macovich Collection, and the lot now offered is arguably the most spectacular moderately-sized specimen of this historic event.

    Like the finest examples of Tissint, this specimen is completely blanketed in a glossy, glistening black fusion crust, the result of its fiery descent through Earth's atmosphere. In addition, this meteorite possesses a further distinction - it's oriented - which is to say that unlike the vast majority of meteorites, it experienced minimal tumbling during its plunge to Earth. Given its stable descent, one would expect the reverse to exhibit profoundly different surface characteristics than the obverse... and it does. As a further testament to flight orientation, there is a pronounced rollover lip where molten material ablated off the meteorite's surface. As would be expected, Tissint shares the compositional and isotopic fingerprint of other Martian meteorites. Tissint is an igneous rock (it formed from lava solidification) and contains clasts of the impact glass maskeynite, which have been known to contain tiny voids that contain tiny volumes of Martian atmosphere as determined by NASA's unmanned Viking Lander. It should be noted that maskelynite requires tremendous pressure to form, and this would be consistent with the delivery mechanism of this material to Earth: a large asteroid impact having struck the Martian surface which launched chunks of Mars into space. Mars is among the rarest substances on Earth - only a little more than 100 kg are known to exist - and this is among the finest examples of the historic Tissint event... and among the finest examples of Mars on Earth period. Accompanied by a custom armature and Lucite dome, as well as a copy of the scientific analysis of Tissint that appears in the Meteoritical Bulletin. 40 x 38 x 17mm (1.5 x 1.5 x 0.66 inches) and 45.74 grams.

    Provenance: Macovich Collection

    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. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. 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. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2012
    20th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 4,557

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