Lot #3721
NWA 12691 Lunar Meteorite

A large moon rock—NWA 12691
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Estimate: $70000+


A large moon rock—NWA 12691

Lunar (feldspathic breccia)
Sahara Desert, North West Africa

While meteorites are rare—the weight of every meteorite known is less than the world’s annual output of gold—Moon rocks are far rarer still. They represent about 0.5% of all meteorites. There are less than 750 kilograms of lunar meteorites documented and they would all fit in about four large refrigerators—and a good deal of this material is untouchable as it’s in museums and research institutions. As it regards the 380 kilograms of material returned to Earth by the Apollo missions—every single gram of that is untouchable. Lunar meteorites arrive on Earth as a result of having been ejected off the lunar surface by asteroid impacts. Scientists are readily able to identify Moon rocks by analyzing a rock's texture, mineralogy, chemistry and isotopes. Moon rocks also contain gases from the solar wind, and those gases have markedly different isotope ratios depending upon a terrestrial or lunar origin. This chunk of the Moon is a breccia, which means it’s a lot of different fragments of a lot of different things which were 'cemented' together as a result of pressure and heat. The white mineral is anorthite, which is very rare on Earth but not on the Moon. The scientist who did the analysis, Dr. Anthony Irving, has an international reputation for classifying Martian and lunar meteorites. You would expect some of the rocks from the Moon that Apollo missions returned to Earth to look like lunar meteorites—and that is exactly the case with this specimen. Offered once in a blue moon, this is a choice, large piece of the Moon.

122 x 97 x 78 mm and 852.9 grams.

A copy of the scientific analysis and classification of NWA 12691 accompanies this sample.

Provenance: The Stifler Collection of Meteorites.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Space
  • Dates: #607 - Ended April 22, 2021