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NWA 12011—meteorite with a return address, a meteorite endpiece from the Asteroid Vesta
Sahara Desert, North West Africa
NASA’s Dawn space probe confirmed what scientists had long believed: eucritic meteorites — including the specimen now offered — originate from the surface of the asteroid Vesta. As is the case with the Martian and lunar offerings, it arrived on Earth as a result of another asteroid having slammed into Vesta which ejected debris into space — some of which entered an Earth-crossing orbit.
Vesta is the second largest asteroid in our solar system. Billions of years ago there were other large asteroids which fragmented and continued to orbit the Sun between Mars and Jupiter. We refer to these fragments — large and small — as the asteroid belt. This meteorite is a basalt; it originated from an ancient volcano on Vesta and the cut and polished face reveal the classic presentation of what is referred to as a “monomict” eucrite as the clasts seen originate from a single rock type. Exceedingly fresh, clusters of large grains populate one end of the specimen. The side features patches of fusion crust (from the meteorite’s fiery descent through Earth’s atmosphere) and the reverse is a naturally fractured with earthen accents from the meteorite’s residency in the Sahara. This is a fascinating representation of a richly evocative meteorite.
65 x 85 x 12mm (2.5 x 3.3 x 0.5 in.) and 146.2 g (0.33 lbs)
Auction Title: Space
#619 - Ended October 21, 2021
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