Just as NASA is celebrating its robotic explorer Perseverance's successful touchdown on Mars yesterday (February 18), to collect core samples of rocks and soils for the Red Planet exploration, you too, can get your hands on a precious piece of otherworldly wonders beyond Earth.
Members of NASA’s Perseverance rover team cheers after the spacecraft successfully landed on Mars
Christie’s New York is having an online-only auction that features an array of meteorites and specimens of the Moon and Mars that one can bring home.
The sale, Deep Impact: Martian, Lunar, and Other Rare Meteorites runs from now until February 23. Among a treasure trove of 75 space rocks, most of the lots are offered at no reserve, starting at US$250.
Highlights of the celestial offerings include the fourth largest slice of the Moon, a historic meteorite that reportedly killed a man, and a seven-billion-year-old stardust described by the auction house as “the oldest matter mankind can touch.”
Lot 73 | The Fourth Largest Slice of the Moon - Tisserlitine 001
Lunar meteorite (feldspathic breccia) Sahara Desert, Kidal, Mali (21.325° N, 0.729° E)
Dimensions & weight: 415 x 352 x 9 mm, 1.9934 kg
Estimate: US$250,000 - 350,000
Delivered to Earth after being blasted off the lunar surface after the impact of an asteroid or comet, the 4.33-pound rock is cut and polished from the second largest lunar sample on Earth, returned by an Apollo mission. The sample was found in Timbuktu, Mali and was analyzed by Dr. Anthony Irving, the world’s most renowned classifier of meteorites from the Moon and Mars.
Lot 18 | Muonionalusta Meteorite Crystal Ball
Iron, fine octahedrite Kiruna, Sweden (67°48’ N, 23°6’ E)
Dimension & weight: 103 mm diameter, 4.677 kg
Estimate: US$14,000 - 18,000
A Swedish meteorite from the core of a shattered asteroid resided between Mars and Jupiter. The Muonionalusta meteorite, named after where it was found, fell to Earth about a million years ago, and was later fashioned into a sphere, to showcase its natural, prominent crystalline structure.
Lot 38 | Space Gems in Natural Iron Matrix Featured in Complete Slice of a Transitional Seymchan Meteorite
Pallasite – PMG Magadan District, Russia (62°54’ N, 152°26’ E)
Dimensions & weight: 217 x 201 x 3 mm, 600 g
Estimate: US$10,000 - 15,000
The present offering is a pallasite - a stony-iron meteorite and is the rarest of its kind that only represents about 0.2% of all known meteorites. Like all pallasitic meteorites, Seymchan originated at the mantle/core boundary of an asteroid that blasted apart following a cataclysmic collision with another asteroid. The crystals seen here are the result of small chunks of the stony mantle becoming suspended in the molten metal of the core.
Lot 6 | Murchison - 7-Billion-Year-Old Stardust
Carbonaceous chondrite – CM2 Victoria, Australia (36°37' S, 145°12' E)
Estimate: US$4,000 - 6,000
Dating back to 1969, and just two months after the first man landed on the Moon, a massive meteorite shower over the Australia town of Murchison occurred. It was reported that several hundreds of meteorites were found around the area after the event, including the present piece, which contains a variety of organic compounds that introduced precursors of life to Earth.
The Murchison meteorite was determined to be more than seven billion years old - more than 50% older than the Earth and Sun, and stands as one of the oldest known remnants of the pre-Earth solar system.
Lot 21 | Slice of a Martian Meteorite - Shergottite NWA 13276
Mars Rock – SNC Shergottite Sahara Desert, Mali, North West Africa
Dimensions & weight: 91 x 79 x 2 mm, 32.74 g
Estimate: US$4,000 - 5,000
Just like the Moon, specimens of Mars are among the most exotic substances on Earth with less than 250 kg known to exist. This complete and polished slice of sample was recovered in the Sahara Desert after being blasted off the Moon following asteroid impacts. Confirmed by laboratory analyses, the sizable Martian rock contains volumes of gas found on the planet Mars trapped inside.
Lot 19 | A Partial Slice of the Barbotan Meteorite Shower of 1790
H5 – Gers, France
Dimensions & weight: 51 x 52 x 2 mm, 11.22 g
Estimate: US$2,000 - 3,000
In an era when rocks falling out of the sky was an absurd idea, a shower of stones was witnessed over the skyline of Southern France in Barbotan. The present lot is a partial slice of the Barbotan meteorite shower that was said to have punctured the roof of a herdsman’s hut before killing him.
Auction house: Christie’s New York
Sale: Deep Impact: Martian, Lunar and Other Rare Meteorites (Online)
Dates: Feb 9 - 23, 2021 | 10am (EST)