About each collectible box:
MARS: We know that pieces of the Red Planet fell here because of the robot Viking spacecraft that landed on Mars in 1976. Six years after those landings, Drs. Johnson and Bogard were studying an unusual meteorite, here on Earth; a meteorite with a most unusual name — Elephant Moraine 79001, found in Antarctica in 1979. The two scientists made an astonishing discovery: tiny amounts of gas trapped within vugs in the 79001 meteorite were a close match to the thin atmosphere of Mars, as recorded by the Viking landers. The experiment was later repeated and confirmed by looking at several other Martian meteorites, clearly indicating their origin point. And what a fiery and furious life they’ve had! Blasted off the surface of their home planet by other meteorite impacts (the impactors likely being large asteroid fragments), they wandered in space until falling here.
The improbable origin story of Martian meteorites makes them plenty rare — what are the chances that something would be blasted off a smaller planet that is, on average, 140 million miles away and then land on ours? Couple that with the fact that Martian meteorites are fragile; they are essentially cooled lava from another planet and contain little or no metal, meaning that — unlike most meteorites — metal detectors and magnets cannot be used to recover them, making them notoriously difficult to identify and recover in the field.
MERCURY: In 2012, an obscure rock was found somewhere in the desert near Northwest Africa. Official chemical analysis revealed that this strange rock originated from outer space and had unique petrographic characteristics, meaning it is different from all other known meteorites. Experts officially classified the stone, NWA 7325, as an ungrouped Achondrite.
The mysterious intrigue of this space rock goes deeper than its unique classification and unknown find site—some scientists suggest that based on its oxidation state, it may have come from the planet Mercury, based on data returned by NASA’s Messenger space probe. A large and violent impact could have rocked the planet, named after the Roman messenger god, and caused NWA 7325 to catapult its way to Earth.
Though we cannot be certain of its origin, what is certain is the meteorite’s parent body was large enough to form a core, mantle, and crust. Beyond that, only 35 total pieces were recovered, totaling a minuscule 345 grams in weight, making the material rare and highly desirable.
Even if the space rock is not from Mercury, there has never been anything quite like it found on Earth before. NWA 7325 is a unique piece sparking much debate throughout the scientific community and much excitement among collectors.
MOON: You may have heard that it is illegal for American citizens to own Moon rocks. Actually, it is only illegal for individuals to privately own Apollo mission samples that were returned to Earth by our astronauts in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Owning a lunar meteorite fragment is not only legal, it’s a wonderful way to reach for the stars. This marvelous collectible features a 100% genuine piece of the Moon, presented in an attractive display box featuring an official NASA photo.