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What’s a moon rock worth, anyway?

Sotheby's
Soviet lunar samples held inside a special viewing case.
  • Tim Fernholz
By Tim Fernholz

Senior reporter

This article is more than 2 years old.

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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