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Help us to get the Moon!

Allowing the Natural History Museum Vienna (Austria) to acquire an extraordinary lunar meteorite

About the project

The objective of our call is to acquire a unique lunar meteorite for the famous meteorite collection of the Natural History Museum Vienna (Austria), not only to show this incredibly large fragment of the Moon to the general public, but also to study this unique meteorite, allowing us to learn more about our Moon, and to save this sample for research and future generations.

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.

You know what you have to do to become a generous explorer and to allow the general public and scientists – to "touch the Moon"...

Ejected from the Moon several thousands of years ago...

Safely arrived on Earth hundreds of years ago after a very long journey through our Solar System...

This meteorite, weighing in total about 410 g, just discovered earlier this year in Western Sahara, was named Oued Awlitis 001, after the name of the desert area where it was found.

The lunar meteorite Oued Awlitis 001 just after it was discovered in the Western Sahara (photograph by M. Aid).

This (gem)stone is a unique opportunity to better understand our Moon and to reconstruct its history.

The lunar meteorite Oued Awlitis 001 with the surface of the Moon in the backside (photograph by L. Ferrière).

Soon as it will be acquired, with your generous help, a consortium of scientists, from all around the world, will be able to work on it. The consortium is lead by Ludovic Ferrière, a 32 years old French guy, in charge of the rock collection and of the prestigious meteorite collection at the Natural History Museum Vienna (NHMV). For more information on the consortium, see here: http://www.meteorimpactonearth.com/consortium. After some months, the first results will be released and you will be able to be proud of yourself, as you will have contributed to some sort of "space exploration".

Less than five percent of the surface of the Moon was sampled during the Apollo missions, 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 is now on display in the Meteorite Hall of the Natural History Museum Vienna, being the by far largest lunar meteorite in a European public display, at least until the end of the year 2014, and with your generous support for the next centuries!

"Identity card" of the Oued Awlitis 001 lunar meteorite

Origin: The Moon

Age of formation: Unknown (to be determined by the consortium of scientists)

Terrestrial age (i.e., when it has landed on Earth): Unknown (to be determined by the consortium of scientists)

Discovery place: Western Sahara (25.954°N, 12.493°W)

Date of the discovery: 15.01.2014

Type of the meteorite: A lunar meteorite; An anorthositic melt rock (i.e., formed during a meteorite impact on the Moon)

Characteristics of the different fragments:

*The main one (main mass for the display and for non-destructive analyses): 362.37 g / 7.7 × 7.0 × 4.0 cm

*A large fragment (to be used for the scientific analyses): 47.40 g / 5.4 x 3.0 x 2.7 cm

*Two very small fragments (to be used for the scientific analyses): 0.65 g / 1.1 x 0.7 x 0.4 cm & 0.6 x 0.4 x 0.3 cm

Total mass available = 410.43 g

Fragments of the lunar meteorite Oued Awlitis 001 to be used for scientific analyses (photographs by L. Ferrière).

What are the funds for?

The total amount to be able to acquire this unique lunar meteorite, and to perform detailed and innovative scientific research, is of €110,000. This sum will seem enormous to a large majority, and ridiculously low to a few others, but what is sure is that we are relying on your support to obtain this sample and to study it.

Considering the price of gemstones, the price of this meteorite is negligible, especially when you know how beautiful it is inside of this lunar rock. This sum is also in no way comparable with the incredible amount of money (hundreds of million Euros) that would be necessary to collect and to bring back on Earth such a rock from the Moon.

Please help us to get the Moon to our Museum by being a generous explorer...

If we manage to obtain the necessary amount of money we will:

*Be able to investigate this meteorite in detail and learn more about our Moon.

*Save this stone from being lost for the humanity, as it will remain in the NHM Vienna collections forever (knowing that the NHM Vienna meteorites collection is the world oldest curated collection of meteorites, with specimens acquired (some of them donated to the emperor!) during the 1700s).

About the project owner

The Natural History Museum Vienna (http://www.nhm-wien.ac.at/en) is one of the largest, oldest, and most important natural history museums in the world.

View of the Natural History Museum Vienna, a building opened in 1889 (photograph by L. Ferrière).

Its collections were founded in 1750 by Emperor Franz I Stephan of Lorraine, the husband of Maria Theresa. It houses a collection of more than 30 million specimens and artifacts, including several reference (scientific) collections, notably the world's oldest meteorite collection. A notable part of this collection is shown in the recently modernized Meteorite Hall, the world's largest meteorite display. A large number of famous and unique objects, such as the 25,000-year-old figure of the “Venus of Willendorf”, are also visible in the 39 galleries that are visited by more than half a million visitors each year.

View of the Meteorite Hall at the NHMV, the world's largest meteorite display (photograph by K. Kracher).

The NHMV not only has a long history of curating rare and precious objects, it is also one of the largest non-university research institutions in Austria. In the seven research departments of the NHMV, more than 60 scientists perform basic research in various fields of geosciences, biosciences and human sciences, including the study of the composition of the Earth and the origins of the universe as well as the development and proliferation of primitive plants and animals, biodiversity, and genetics.

The world experts in their fields of the NHMV work in close partnership with other international research institutions, using the state-of-the-art facilities that are available.

This particular project is lead by Ludovic Ferrière, chief curator of the rock collection and co-curator of the meteorite collection. In the last three and half years he contributed significantly to the preparation of the new presentation of the meteorite collection and to the reorganization of the NHMV collections according to modern standards. He is also a researcher and has developed several international research projects on different aspects of meteorites and impacts, including the discovery of a 17-km-diameter meteorite impact crater in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Ludovic Ferrière and a few press articles about him.

More information available on http://www.meteorimpactonearth.com

The Oued Awlitis 001 lunar meteorite consortium is mainly composed of young scientists, in their thirties, and a few older ones, from all around the world. They work together for this project; To know who they are: http://www.meteorimpactonearth.com/consortium

For general information on the Natural History Museum Vienna: http://www.nhm-wien.ac.at/en