segunda-feira, 1 de outubro de 2012

The Martian rock with a pricetag that's out of this world: Tiny lump of the red planet set to make £160,000 /200,000 Euros / 258 thousand USD

Rock is just 3.5ins long and weighs 11.5oz
Landed in the Moroccan desert last year in a meteorite shower

A small lump of the planet Mars that fell to Earth in a meteorite shower is set to sell for an astronomical £160,000.
The rock, that is just 3.5ins long and weighs 11.5ozs, formed under the surface of the red planet and was blasted from it by the impact of an asteroid millions of years ago.
After travelling through space it formed part of a meteorite shower that landed in the Moroccan desert last year.

The meteorite was named after the village of Tissint, where it came down.
Experts said the shower was the most important to have occurred on Earth in 100 years.
It was acquired by an American company that collects meteorites and earlier this year sold the bulk of it, a chunk weighing 2.5lbs, to the Natural History Museum in London.
It retained this smaller fragment which has now been made available for sale at auction.
The lump is an igneous rock formed from solidifed lava and has a glossy black fusion crust on the outside.
Jim Walker, of the US-based Heritage Auctions, said: 'This piece is part of the same meteorite that formed the largest piece from the shower to fall to Earth.

'Whether it broke up on impact or separated earlier I don’t know but it does fit into the much bigger piece, like a 3D jigsaw.
'When they occur meteorite showers often fall in the Sahara Desert and locals have learnt to pick up almost any fragment of rock that they don’t recognise.
'Pieces identified as martian have been eagerly snapped up by collectors in the past and this seems reasonably priced.
'Part of the problem is that there is obviously a shortage of material like this around but there is enough that a market has been established.
'This piece has a beautiful fusion crust on the exterior and this has given it an added value.
'Lunar and martian rocks are the pinnacle of meteorite collecting.
'But there is a very limited amount of material, most lunar mass is at NASA who are extremely loathed to release any of it to the public.'
The auction takes place in New York on October 14.


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