Northwest Africa 5000 (NWA5000) lunar meteorite specimen known as the, “'Starburst Tile.” This professionally prepared tile shaped, partial slice features abundant white to medium grey clasts set in a dark grey matrix, as well as small metallic inclusions.
Northwest Africa 5000, discovered in the country of Western Sahara in July 2007, is the largest intact meteorite from the ancient Lunar Highlands ever found. Originally weighing in at 25 lbs. 6.6 oz. (11,528 grams), it was massive - much larger than any singular highlands sample returned to Earth during the Apollo program or lunar highlands meteorite. Although the weight is very impressive, its scientific value is immense since it came from a region of the Moon which has never before been sampled. Most meteorites break up during atmospheric entry or weather into fragments creating multiple stones called pairings. All indications are that NWA5000 came in as a single mass with no pairings and is very fresh making it a sound investment.
The meteorite was first studied, confirmed as a lunar meteorite and classified by the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. Washington University in St. Louis and Carnegie Institution in Washington D.C. soon provided additional confirmation of its lunar provenance by way of bulk elemental analysis and oxygen isotope testing. Several more laboratories including Berkeley Geochronology Center, Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory, Purdue University, ETH-Zurich, University of Arizona, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Vatican Observatory and National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Florida State University have helped to decode the extraterrestrial history of this exceeding rare meteorite from the Moon.
This meteorite made its public debut at the Royal Ontario Museum from December 20th 2008 to April 15th 2009. This is the largest Moon rock ever to be placed on public display. It was prominently exhibited in its own 11 by 8 by 2 feet display at the very front and center for the grand opening of the new Teck Suite of Galleries: Earth’s Treasures. It was intensely popular as patrons viewed it both on the way in and once again upon exiting. It was also exhibited at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. A complete slice was later used at Chicago's Field Museum by Apollo 16 Moonwalker, Charlie Duke to promote future missions to the Moon.
This specimen was professionally prepared in an ultraclean environment using sterilized diamond-lined stainless steel blades and diamond embedded discs. A diamond lap polish was applied to all flat surfaces to the level where maximum contrast was achieved. Gloves and a mask were worn during preparation so this sample has never been directly in contact with human hands. You can be the first to touch its freshly prepared surfaces. This specimen is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity from The Hupé Collection/Adam C. Hupé, who is documented as the original NWA5000 main mass holder in the Meteoritical Bulletin No. 93.
This great example weighs 1.874 grams and measures 17 mm x 12 mm x 3 mm.
Notes: There is simply too much information, history and accolades to discuss this legendary Moon rock in a single page so it was spread out over three descriptions. Please be sure to read the other two descriptions for additional information that equally applies to this offering.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.