- A 12-pound chunk of the moon is up for auction and its sale price could reach more than $500,000.
- NWA 11789, better known as “Buagaba” or “The Moon Puzzle”, is a six-piece lunar meteorite found in a remote area of Mauritania last year.
- The online bidding runs until Thursday, Oct. 18.
A 12-pound chunk of the moon discovered last year is up for auction and could bring in $500,000 or more during the online bidding that comes to a close Thursday, Oct. 18.
The auction, run by the Boston-based RR Auction, calls the lunar meteorite found in Northwest Africa “one of the most important meteorites available for acquisition anywhere in the world today,” the Associated Press reported.
One of the biggest pieces of the moon ever put up for sale, NWA 11789, better known as “Buagaba” or “The Moon Puzzle”, was found in a remote area of Mauritania and is thought to have crashed to Earth thousands of years ago.
Buagaba is made up of six pieces that fit together like an oddly-shaped puzzle, the largest of which weighs in at about six pounds.
“As soon as we saw this, we knew it was extraordinarily unusual,” said Geoff Notkin, the CEO of the company selling the chunk of moon, Aerolite Meteorites. “This is close to a once in a lifetime find.”
Most lunar meteorites that are found tend to be the size of a walnut or golf ball, Notkin said. The 12-pound chunk up for sale measures about seven inches by five.
The Moon Puzzle stands out for reasons other than its sheer size. For one, its one of the few known lunar meteorites with “partial fusion crust,” an exterior caused by extreme heat searing the rock as it speeds through the Earth’s atmosphere.
“It actually toasted on the outside,” said Notkin.
The toasted lunar meteorite is also rare because it’s “unpaired”. “Paired” meteorites are when different pieces of the same meteorites are found at different times. Collectors find “unpaired” meteorites more desirable and more valuable to science.
Robert Livingston, RR Auction’s vice president’ said that while the meteorite would fit in well at any natural history museum, he thinks there’s a strong possibility a private collector bids highest.
“This is the only way a private collector can get their hands on a piece of the moon because the moon rocks brought back by astronauts are U.S. government property,” Livingston said.