Skip to main content

Meteorite auction included one very surprising item

Christie’s has been auctioning off lots of meteorites over the last few weeks, though it saved the most unusual object in its collection for last.

The Deep Impact: Martian Lunar and Other Rare Meteorites online auction featured “the oldest matter mankind can touch,” according to Christie’s. It also included a doghouse with a hole in the roof.

That doghouse (below) was home to a German shepherd named Roky in Costa Rica. It’s deemed special because the hole in the tin roof was made by a meteorite that crashed through it three years ago. Roky, you’ll be pleased to know, escaped unharmed.

A doghouse with a hole in the roof caused by a meteorite.
Roky’s doghouse with the hole made by a meteorite clearly visible in the tin roof. Christie's

Someone evidently intrigued by the unique doghouse happily dropped a winning bid of $44,100, well below the $300,000 that some thought it might fetch, but still a lot for what is essentially damaged goods. It should be noted, however, that the meteorite that slammed into the doghouse sold for just $21,420 — less than half the value of the doghouse.

Most of the lots were of the rocky variety, each one having experienced an epic journey through space before ending up on the website of a leading auction house.

“There are a dozen offerings of the moon and the planet Mars and another dozen from some of the most famous museums in the world — as well as meteorites containing gems from outer space,” Christie’s said in the auction notes.

The collection, which you can view online, is a sight to behold, with the rocks coming in a myriad of beautiful colors, sizes, and shapes, though it’s important to point out that some have been fashioned to take on a new look.

Below are just a few of the meteorites that went up for auction, with the “price realised” label indicating the value of the winning bid.
Meteorites up for auction at Christie's in February 2022.

Meteorites up for auction at Christie's in February 2022.

With only a few lots to go, the highest amount paid so far is $189,000 for a “complete slice of the moon.” The object was blasted off the lunar surface following an asteroid impact and is described as “the 5,000th rock recovered in the Northwest African grid of the Sahara Desert to be analyzed and classified.” Christie’s adds that the 7.75-inch by 7- inch by 0.25-inch, 0.9-pound object was the largest lunar meteorite known when it was discovered in 2007. Good thing it didn’t land on Roky then.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Hubble Space Telescope is in safe mode due to a gyro problem
Hubble orbiting more than 300 miles above Earth as seen from the space shuttle.

The Hubble Space Telescope has experienced a problem with its hardware and is currently in safe mode, with science operations paused until the fault can be corrected. The problem is with one of the telescope's three operational gyros, which are used to control the direction in which the telescope points. When a fault like this is detected, the telescope automatically goes into a safe mode in which it performs only essential operations to prevent any damage to its hardware.

"The telescope automatically entered safe mode when one of its three gyroscopes gave faulty readings," NASA wrote in a statement. "The gyros measure the telescope’s turn rates and are part of the system that determines which direction the telescope is pointed. While in safe mode, science operations are suspended, and the telescope waits for new directions from the ground."

Read more
James Webb finds that rocky planets could form in extreme radiation environment
This is an artist’s impression of a young star surrounded by a protoplanetary disk in which planets are forming.

It takes a particular confluence of conditions for rocky planets like Earth to form, as not all stars in the universe are conducive to planet formation. Stars give off ultraviolet light, and the hotter the star burns, the more UV light it gives off. This radiation can be so significant that it prevents planets from forming from nearby dust and gas. However, the James Webb Space Telescope recently investigated a disk around a star that seems like it could be forming rocky planets, even though nearby massive stars are pumping out huge amounts of radiation.

The disk of material around the star, called a protoplanetary disk, is located in the Lobster Nebula, one of the most extreme environments in our galaxy. This region hosts massive stars that give off so much radiation that they can eat through a disk in as little as a million years, dispersing the material needed for planets to form. But the recently observed disk, named XUE 1, seems to be an exception.

Read more
Astronomers spot rare star system with six planets in geometric formation
Orbital geometry of HD110067: Tracing a link between two neighbour planets at regular time intervals along their orbits, creates a pattern unique to each couple. The six planets of the HD110067 system together create a mesmerising geometric pattern due to their resonance-chain.

Astronomers have discovered a rare star system in which six planets orbit around one star in an elaborate geometrical pattern due to a phenomenon called orbital resonance. Using both NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and the European Space Agency's (ESA) CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite (CHEOPS), the researchers have built up a picture of the beautiful, but complex HD110067 system, located 100 light-years away.

The six planets of the system orbit in a pattern whereby one planet completes three orbits while another does two, and one completes six orbits while another does one, and another does four orbits while another does three, and so one. The six planets form what is called a "resonant chain" where each is in resonance with the planets next to it.

Read more