Christie’s, one of the biggest British auction house is offering a piece of moon rock for sale. According to Christie’s, the lunar meteorite is bigger than the moon rocks that the Apollo astronauts brought back to Earth.
On Thursday, Christie’s announced it will be selling, not auctioning off, a “significant” lunar rock. According to the press release, the said lunar rock (NWA 12691) is the fifth biggest piece of the Moon on Earth and it is bigger than any moon rocks returned to Earth by the Apollo program.
According to Christie’s, NWA 12691 was part of a large meteor shower and was found in the Sahara Desert two years ago. This rock weighs over 13.5kg.
Since NWA 12691 is for sale and not for auction, it is available for immediate purchase. It is valued at £2 million ($2.5 million). Moon rocks arrive on Earth as meteorites when impact events on the surface of the Moon cause lunar materials to be ejected into space and fall to Earth. “These are essentially free planetary samples, because nature has delivered them to Earth, without the cost of a spacecraft mission,” the Lunar and Planetary Institute noted.
According to the institute, these rocks are “invaluable” because they represent samples from different parts of the moon, including the less explored far side. By comparison, the moon rock samples that were returned to Earth from the Apollo missions were limited because the astronauts were only able to retrieve samples from the near side equatorial region of the Moon. This means the samples they brought back only represents about four to five percent of the lunar surface.
Source: International Business Times & Christie’s