A piece of the Moon is up for auction with an expected price tag of more than $500,000. Boston’s RR Auction has already received bids for the NWA 11789 Lunar meteorite, but at just $55,000 so far it’s a little short of the target.
Weighing in at 5.5Kg the rock is often called the Moon Puzzle because it’s made up of six pieces that fit together like a Lunar jigsaw.
But these Moon rocks weren’t brought back by astronauts, instead it’s thought to have been blasted off the surface by an asteroid. Ejected into space it managed to travel 250,000 miles to Earth where it survived atmospheric entry.
It has a “fusion crust” that’s caused by the heat generated as it entered the atmosphere. It’s also thought to be one of only two Lunar meteorites that show this kind of heat damage.
Most discoveries of Lunar meteorites take place in parts of Africa or Antarctica. Only a few hundred have ever been discovered, adding to the value of this massive example.
NWA 11789 was discovered in Mauritania, North West Africa in 2017. The authenticity of these Lunar rocks is verified by comparing their makeup to the samples brought back to Earth during NASA’s Apollo program.
The auction house says that a meteorite of this size is incredibly rare, with most weighing just a few grammes.
Private citizens can’t usually own a piece of the moon. Neither the US Government nor NASA sells samples. Tiny fragments do occasionally come up for sale though, and in 1993 three small samples from the Soviet Lunar 16 mission were sold for $442,500.
Bidding on the Lunar Meteorite will finish on October 18, so you’ll need to be quick raising the cash to buy this amazing Moon chunk. The winning bidder will also get a photo of the Moon signed by Al Worden, who flew in Apollo 15 in 1971.