12-Pound Lunar Meteorite ‘The Moon Puzzle’ Up For Auction

The moon prior to Sept. 2015 penumbral eclipse.
Matt Cardy / Getty Images

A lunar meteorite dubbed “The Moon Puzzle” is expected to fetch a huge sum of money at an auction.

Boston-based RR Auction has announced that a 12-pound space rock classified as NWA 11789 will be up for sale. The rock, also known as the “Buagaba,” has an estimated price of $500,000.

The large meteorite was discovered in the desert of Northwest Africa in 2017. The location where it was found is represented in the rock’s scientific name. The letters of NWA 11789 stands for Northwest Africa.

Aerolite Meteorites Inc. CEO and star of the television show “Meteorite Men” Geoff Notkin, who guaranteed the authenticity of the moon rock, said that the meteorite is an important, world-class example of a lunar meteorite.

Notkins said that there may be few, if there are any, of the world’s top museums that have a lunar meteorite near the size and uniqueness of NWA 11789. In a statement, RR Auction said that NWA 11789 is the only known example of a meteorite with no known pairings, making it valuable for collectors and scientists.

“As soon as we saw this, we knew it was extraordinarily unusual,” Notkin told the Associated Press. “This is close to a once in a lifetime find.”

The rock blasted off the surface of the moon in the distant past possibly due to an impact of a different meteorite. It then journeyed to the surface of the Earth, surviving a fiery descent through our planet’s atmosphere.

The Moon Puzzle is comprised of six fragments that fit together like pieces of a puzzle. It also features a partial fusion crust on one side.

'The Moon Puzzle.' features puzzle-like fragments
  RR Auction

What makes the rock particularly special is the fact that it is considered unpaired. This means that it is not connected to any other known meteorites.

Metro explained that pairing occurs because fragments from the same meteorite break up into different pieces and land in different places upon crashing on Earth. Once discovered, these rocks are given numerical designations and matched up in laboratories.

“A unique or ‘unpaired’ meteorite is more desirable to collectors and perhaps more valuable to science, especially in those rare instances in which the single find is a very large stone,” the auction house said.

“Considering that the average size of a lunar meteorite find is a few hundred grams, the magnitude of this offering is truly impressive.”

The bidding on the moon rock will take place starting Thursday, Oct. 11 and continues until Oct. 18.