Lunar meteorite, feldspathic breccia. Northwest Africa, found 2017. Fragment weighing 27.6 grams and measuring 39 mm x 31 mm x 23 mm. Although originating in the same place (the Moon) and found in the same year (2017), note the obvious differences between NWA 11788 and NWA 11303, indicating that our lunar neighbor was an active world, producing varied materials over the millennia. Found in Mali and examined and classified by the Institute of Meteoritics at UNM, Albuquerque, NWA 11788 is darker in color, with green and grey hues and is a breccia consisting of fragments of various lunar minerals including plagioclase, pyroxene, and olivine that have been compressed together over time.
If you look at the surface of the Moon through a telescope, you will immediately notice that its surface is partially covered by a multitude of craters. Some of those may be volcanic in origin, but many or most are meteorite craters formed when meteorites from elsewhere—likely chunks of the asteroid belt—crashed into the Moon. Sufficient force of impact can accelerate fragments of Moon rock away from its surface, in essence throwing them into space. Some of those pieces are later snared by Earth’s gravitational influence and fall here as meteorites.
Lunar meteorites, or lunaites, are very different in composition from the majority of other space rocks. Their uniqueness helps identify them as being lunar in origin. It is directly because of the Apollo missions that scientists are able to identify lunar meteorites. When the composition of a lunar meteorite found on Earth is analyzed in the laboratory, it is seen to be markedly similar to specimens brought back to Earth by the Apollo astronauts. More remarkable than that, even, is the fact that some lunar meteorites can be paired with a particular part of our nearest neighbor, meaning we can tell not just that they came from the Moon, but also, to some degree, which part of the Moon.
In financial terms, lunar specimens are among the most valuable and sought-after of meteorites, often selling on the collectors’ market for as much as $1,000 per gram, making them worth many times their weight in gold. We are pleased to present eight moon rock lots, representing three different lunar meteorites: NWA 11303, NWA 11788, and NWA 5000. Meteorites are typically named after the nearest town to their point of discovery. “NWA” is an abbreviation for Northwest Africa and indicates that these specimens were found in a remote desert environment, away from towns or known geographical features. Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Aerolite Meteorites.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.