Now this is a piece of the rock.
An asteroid, hurtling through space at tens of thousands of miles per second, impacted the fourth planet from the sun. The impact kicked a piece of the distinctive red planet off Mars and sent it in turn into the cold reaches of space, like a cueball connecting on a pool table.
That little piece of Mars fell to Earth, where it was discovered in the Sahara Desert last year.
And now it can be yours for the low, low price of about $160,000, part of an auction of nature and science artifacts from Heritage Auctions.
“The specimens in this sale represent some of the finest fossils, meteorites, and natural history items I have had the privilege to handle” said Craig Kissick, Associate Director of Nature & Science for Heritage Auctions. “This auction will appeal to everyone fascinated by natural history and truly has something for everyone – even those new to this collecting genre.”
The 1.37 pound hunk of rock is incredibly rare; less than 300 poiunds of Martian rock is known to exist on Earth, the auction house said. The auction will end June 2.
The auction will feature other meteorites, according to Space.com’s Clara Moskowitz. Another space rock found in the Sahara Desert of Morocco, classified as a chondrite meteorite, should sell for at least $15,000, experts say. At 19.57 lbs, that specimen is much larger than the Martian meteorite, and features the largest example of gem-like olivine crystals ever collected, embedded in a silver nickel-ore matrix.
And a 16.86-lb chunk of muonionalusta iron has been carved and polished into a "modern work of art," according to Heritage Auctions, and should bring in at least $18,000.
Other prizes going up at the auction include a tuft of wooly mammoth wool from the Pleistocene epoch and a prehistoric specimen of amber that caught two tiny midges in flagrante delicto.