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Soviet lunar samples held inside a special viewing case.

What’s a moon rock worth, anyway?

Tim Fernholz
Member exclusive by Tim Fernholz for Back to the moon

In a November auction, an anonymous buyer purchased approximately 0.2 grams of soil from the surface of the moon for $855,000.

At $4.28 million per gram, the lunar regolith carries a higher price than any mineral on earth, despite it likely being composed of such commonplace elements as oxygen, iron, silica and calcium.

Yet very few people expecting to do business on the moon are counting on bringing back moon rocks to sell here on earth at auction; they’ll bring it back for scientists to examine.

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