Lunar Feldspathic Regolithic Breccia
Sahara Desert, Northwest Africa
Among the rarest substances on Earth is the Moon. There are less than 750 kilograms of lunar meteorites known and all of this material would fit in three SUVs. Moreover, much of it is untouchable as it’s in national museums and research institutions. The lunar samples returned to Earth by the Apollo missions are also not available to the public.
Lunar meteorites arrive on Earth as a result of having been ejected off the lunar surface by asteroid impacts. Scientists are able to identify lunar samples by analyzing a specimen’s texture, mineralogy, chemistry and isotopes. 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 that are significantly different than the same gases found on Earth. NWA 12427 is the 12,427th meteorite found in the Northwest African grid of the Sahara Desert to be analyzed and classified. The complete slice now offered contains of a variety of fragments of different rocks and minerals including prominent white inclusions of anorthite — a calcium-aluminum silicate mineral rarely seen on Earth. These fragments were cemented together by pressure and heat from successive asteroid impacts on the lunar surface which melted the lunar regolith (soil) and then upon solidifying bonded the fragments. The cut surfaces of this complete slice superbly evidence this impact brecciation, Patches of fusion crust on the rim — the result of frictional heating in Earth’s atmosphere — are also in evidence.
Renowned meteoriticist Dr. Carl Agee, the Director of the Institute of Meteoritics, performed the classification of NWA 12427 and the peer-reviewed copy of his analysis accompanies this choice complete slice of the Moon.
161 x 119 x 3mm (6.33 x 4.66 x 0.1 in.) and 116 g (0.25 lbs)