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A lunar meteorite comprised of six fragments that fit together, puzzle-like, to form a mass weighing slightly over 12 pounds. (RR Auction Photo)

A lunar meteorite discovered in a Northwest African desert in 2017 has sold at auction for $612,500, Boston-based RR Auction announced on Friday.

The rare rock, classified as NWA 11789 and unofficially called “The Moon Puzzle,” is comprised of six fragments which fit together puzzle-like and form a mass weighing about 5.5 kg or 12 pounds.

“The winning bid came from a representative working with the Tam Chuc Pagoda Complex, located in Ha Nam Province, Vietnam,” said Bobby Livingston, executive VP at RR Auction, in a news release. “We are extremely happy and thrilled that this magnificent lunar meteorite will be proudly displayed at this beautiful facility — and this ‘Moon Puzzle’ will certainly inspire students of science for generations to come.”

The meteorite has partial fusion crust visible on one side and is considered the largest known, complete lunar puzzle. It is “perhaps, the most significant example of our nearest celestial neighbor ever offered for sale in the history of meteorite science” the auction item description read.

Other items and selling prices from the auction, which ran Oct. 11-18, include:

  • Dave Scott’s flown Apollo 15 Lunar Landmark Maps book carried to the moon during the Apollo 15 mission: $74,182.
  • Northwest Africa (NWA) 8022 lunar meteorite slice, comprised of lunar feldspathic breccia: $45,987.
  • Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin letter written just three weeks before the launch of Apollo 11, where Armstrong contemplates what he will say upon stepping onto the moon sold: $30,318.
  • Gordon Cooper’s Mercury-era journal: $28,658.
  • Saturn Launch Vehicle digital computer memory module: $26,271.
  • Apollo 11 crew signed photograph of the Apollo 11 astronauts in front of the Lunar Module: $8,892.
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