The famous auction company Christie’s has been offering for a few days to buy a lunar meteorite named NWA 12691, found two years ago in the Sahara Desert by an anonymous researcher. With its 13.5 kilograms on the scale, this extraterrestrial stone is “the fifth-largest piece of the Moon ever found on Earth,” read the press release accompanying the announcement.
Note that this is a private sale, not an auction. In other words, first come, first served … provided that you pay 2.5 million dollars (about 2.3 million euros). Available since April 30 for sale, the stone has not yet found a buyer.
The date that this meteorite landed on Earth remains a mystery today. The crash may have taken place thousands or even hundreds of thousands of years ago, probably after the object was projected from the surface of the Moon after a collision with an asteroid or comet, Christie’s assumes. in its press release. To date, around thirty meteorites linked to this event have been discovered in North-West Africa.
A rare object
There are fewer than 700 kilos of these lunar meteorites on Earth, “just enough to fit inside a small car,” reports Taylor Dafoe for artnet News. NWA 12691 represents approximately 2% of this meteoric mass, overshadowing by its measurements (size of a football) the samples returned by the Apollo missions 50 years ago.
“I have had the chance to manipulate a few lunar meteorites at Christie’s over the years, but every time I see this specimen in the warehouse, its size makes me tremble,” explains James Hyslop, director of science and history Christie’s Natural. The experience of holding a piece of another world in your hands is something you will never forget. ”
Note that Christie’s already sold meteorites in the past, but none were as big. “The previous ones could fit in your hand,” says James Hyslop.
By studying the physical and chemical characteristics of lunar rocks, scientists can sometimes get a rough idea of the parts of the lunar surface where they come from. Data which, as far as NWA 12691 is concerned, unfortunately still remains uncertain.
Finally, for those who do not have an adequate budget, note that you can also afford 13 iron meteorites for around 1.74 million dollars (1.6 million euros).
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