The lunar meteorite Oued Awlitis 001 with the surface of the Moon as background. Credit: L. Ferrière

The lunar meteorite Oued Awlitis 001 with the surface of the Moon as background.
Credit: L. Ferrière

The Natural History Museum in Vienna is gatekeeper for the world largest and oldest meteorite display.

Now they’ve set their eyes on acquiring an extraordinary lunar meteorite – and they’ve started a fund-raising effort to do so, but they need your help!

“We’ve started a few days ago a project/campaign we call “Help Us Get the Moon,” says Ludovic Ferrière, curator of the museum’s rock collection and co-curator of their impressive meteorite collection.

The object of their attention?

The lunar meteorite, Oued Awlitis 001, was ejected from the Moon several thousands of years ago…then arrived on Earth hundreds of years ago after a very long journey through our Solar System, Ferrière explains.

Western Sahara landing site

Oued Awlitis 001– weighing in total about 410 grams – was discovered January 15, 2014 in Western Sahara. It was given that name given the desert area in which it was found.

The lunar meteorite Oued Awlitis 001 just after it was discovered in the Western Sahara.   Credit: M. Aid

The lunar meteorite Oued Awlitis 001 just after it was discovered in the Western Sahara.
Credit: M. Aid

“Less than five percent of the surface of the Moon was sampled during the Apollo missions,” Ferrière adds. “This meteorite is a providential way to continue the exploration of our natural satellite. It provides a spectacular asset to the study of the origin and evolution of the Moon.”

This unique lunar meteorite — an anorthositic melt rock ( formed during a meteorite impact on the Moon) — is now in the Meteorite Hall of the Natural History Museum Vienna. The object is by far the largest lunar meteorite in a European public display – at least until the end of the year 2014.

Now, given generous financial support, this celestial time capsule can be seen for the next centuries!

“You will see it, your children will see it, and many more generations will also have a chance to see and to study it…provided that this sample enters our collection,” Ferrière says.

Meteorite hall

View of the Meteorite Hall at the Natural History Museum Vienna, the world’s largest meteorite display. Credit: K. Kracher

View of the Meteorite Hall at the Natural History Museum Vienna, the world’s largest meteorite display.
Credit: K. Kracher

The objective of the fund-raising call is to acquire the lunar meteorite, display the object, but also to intensively study this unique meteorite.

A fragment of the meteorite is to be used for display purposes and for non-destructive analyses. A large fragment is to be used for the scientific analyses.

As soon as the meteorite is acquired, a consortium of scientists, from all around the world, will be able to analyze the object.

“Please help us to get the Moon to our museum by being a generous explorer,” says Ferrière.

For more information about this fund raising campaign – with details about special rewards for various levels of donation — go to:

www.ulule.com/help-us-to-get-the-moon/

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