Sale 16596
Deep Impact: Martian, Lunar and Other Rare Meteorites
Online 7 - 14 February 2018

Material from the Moon is among the rarest substances on Earth, and now offered is a complete slice of an exotic lunar meteoritea Moon rock ejected from the lunar surface following an asteroid impact. Lunar meteorites are identified by specific textural, mineralogical, chemical and radiation signatures. There are less than 225 kg. (500 pounds) of lunar meteorites known to exist and a significant fraction is controlled by governmental institutions. Many of the common minerals found on Earth’s surface are rare on the Moon and some lunar minerals are unknown on Earth. In addition, Moon rocks contain gases captured from the solar wind with isotope ratios very different from the same gases found on Earth. While Apollo astronauts returned with less than 400 kg of Moon rocks, not one milligram is available for private ownership. The amount of the Moon not institutionally controlled and available to the private sector can be contained in two suitcases. North West Africa (NWA) 11616 (provisional) was discovered in 2017. As described by the foremost classifier of lunar meteorites, Dr. Anthony Irving at the University of Washington, this is a polymict fragmental breccia which contains separate olivine gabbro and rare olivine-free basaltic (lunar mare) clasts in a fragmental matrix. As one might expect, many of the Apollo mission samples returned to Earth are nearly identical to lunar meteorites—but not in the case of this exotic example. Dr. Irving and lunar geochemist Dr. Randy Korotev completed their analysis of this Moon rock in January 2018.

Christie's would like to thank Dr. Alan E. Rubin at the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University of California, Los Angeles for his assistance in preparing this catalog note.

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