Most of us will never make it to outer space, but some will be able to take a piece of the final frontier home with them.
Christie’s auction house in New York City is conducting an online sale Tuesday that will showcase 75 stunning meteorites – for as little as $250 and up to more than $180,000.
One of the specimens contains seven-billion-year-old stardust, which is described as the ‘oldest matter mankind can touch,’ and others will contain pieces of the moon and Mars’ atmosphere.
The highlight of the auction is a ‘highly aesthetic’ stone meteorite that weighs about 16 pounds and could see a record sale of $180,000.
‘Unlike 99 percent of all other meteorites, this one did not tumble or invert as it plunged to Earth but maintained a stable orientation throughout its descent,’ according to a release from Christie’s.
This detailed piece is estimated to sell for $50,000 to $80,000.
Christie’s auction house in New York City is conducting an online sale Tuesday that will showcase 75 stunning meteorites – for as little as $250, and up to $180,000. Meteorites containing ‘gems from outer space’ (pictured) are also up for grabs and a sizable chunk of Mars is estimated to fetch around $50,000
James Hyslop, Head of Science and Natural History at Christie’s, said: ‘Everyone has an image in mind of how a meteorite ‘should look’ – an extraterrestrial body frictionally heated while punching through Earth’s atmosphere.’
‘Rarely do the objects survive this fiery descent look like that shared ideal seen in this meteorite. It is a wonder to behold and an honor to have been entrusted with its sale.’
Meteorites containing ‘gems from outer space’ are also up for grabs and a sizable chunk of Mars is estimated to fetch around $50,000.
There are bubbles of impact glass inside the specimen that contain the Martian atmosphere, which are cause then the meteorite is heated by friction in the atmosphere and melts.
It then forms gas bubbles that trap the atmosphere inside when the glass eventually cools.
The highlight of the auction is a ‘highly aesthetic’ stone meteorite that weighs about 16 pounds and is estimated to sell for $50,000-80,000 ‘Unlike 99 percent of all other meteorites, this one did not tumble or invert as it plunged to Earth but maintained a stable orientation throughout its descent
Among these extraordinary meteorites is a shimmering silver ball that was designed from a Swedish-found meteorite originating from ‘the core of a shattered asteroid’
A large iron meteorite that was found in Odessa, Texas after ‘the single largest meteorite shower in the US’ will also be showcased and is expected to cost $50,000.
Although just a piece is set for auction, the entire meteorite, which is some 63,000 years old, left a 100-foot deep crater at impact.
Another, estimated to fetch $15,000 to $25,000, was found by a young boy after the Tirhert meteorite shower in Morocco.
‘While adults searched the ground, the young boy instead searched for some shade where he found the specimen…wedged between the branches of his shade tree,’ said a representative from Christie’s.
Among these extraordinary meteorites is a shimmering silver ball that was designed from a Swedish-found meteorite originating from ‘the core of a shattered asteroid.’
Pictured is a gibeon meteorite that consists of an iron-nickle alloy that contains large amounts of cobalt and phosphorus. These are vary rare and fell to Earth during the prehistoric times in Namibia
Pictured is another Pictured is a gibeon meteorite. These are used in making jewelry that can cost some $1,000 for a small ring
The sphere, with ‘robust natural crystalline structure seen in three dimensions’ is on offer for between $14,000 and $18,000.
Darryl Pitt, Curator, Macovich Collection: ‘If there was ever a time to be awed by the infiniteness of the night sky, we’re living in it, but if you want to inspire and see eyes widen — touch a meteorite.’
One meteorite with previous Macovich provenance was first seen at auction in 1996 when it set the world record price for an iron meteorite at the time ($68,500), and became part of an important private collection for 24 years.
Aesthetic meteorites as large as this impressive 308 pound example are incredibly rare, and this animated abstract form — natural sculpture from outer space — may yet again set a record (estimate: $180,000 – 260,000).
The ‘Deep Impact: Martian, Lunar, and Other Rare Meteorites’ online auction event will begin February 9, 2021, and will last through February 23.
Explained: The difference between an asteroid, meteorite and other space rocks
An asteroid is a large chunk of rock left over from collisions or the early solar system. Most are located between Mars and Jupiter in the Main Belt.
A comet is a rock covered in ice, methane and other compounds. Their orbits take them much further out of the solar system.
A meteor is what astronomers call a flash of light in the atmosphere when debris burns up.
This debris itself is known as a meteoroid. Most are so small they are vapourised in the atmosphere.
If any of this meteoroid makes it to Earth, it is called a meteorite.
Meteors, meteoroids and meteorites normally originate from asteroids and comets.
For example, if Earth passes through the tail of a comet, much of the debris burns up in the atmosphere, forming a meteor shower.