This Moon rock benefitted from its residency in the Sahara Desert where it was sandblasted over a period of many decades. Accented in earthtones, the surface of this specimen also possesses a waxy desert varnish from its exposure to the Saharan elements.

diameter: 118in. (2.8cm.)
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Lot Essay

The Moon is among the rarest substances on Earth, and now offered is a complete lunar meteorite. NWA 15343 is a relatively fine-grained fragmental breccia composed of anorthite, pigeonite, olivine, augite, Ti-chromite and troilite set in a finer-grained matrix. It was part of a larger mass that was blasted off the lunar surface following an asteroid impact. There are less than 750 kg of lunar meteorites known to exist and a significant fraction is controlled by governmental institutions. Moon rocks are identified by specific textural, mineralogical, chemical and isotopic signatures. Many of the common minerals found on Earth’s surface are rare or absent 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. NWA 15343 is the 15,343rd rock recovered in the Northwest African grid of the Sahara Desert to be analyzed and classified. If this meteorite were cut, we would see the classic, signature look of a lunar breccia featuring grains of anorthite (a white calcium-aluminum silicate mineral present in most Moon rocks) set against a dark matrix. Many lunar samples conveyed to Earth by the Apollo missions are very similar to suspected lunar meteorites— and such is the case with the Moon rock now offered.

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