Less than five percent of the surface of the Moon was sampled during the Apollo missions in the late 1960s - 1970s. Therefore, many facts about the Moon are still unknown and new lunar meteorites, such as Oued Awlitis 001, provide a way to continue the exploration of our natural satellite. Lunar meteorites are unique samples to study the origin and evolution of the Earth-Moon system, and much more!

The following research team (see below) are participating in a "Oued Awlitis 001 lunar meteorite consortium", to coordinate the analysis of the Oued Awlitis 001 lunar meteorite.

Main characteristics of the Oued Awlitis 001 lunar meteorite:

Origin: The Moon

Age of formation: Unknown (will be determined by us!)

Terrestrial age (i.e., when it has landed on Earth): Unknown (will be determined by us!)

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

Date of the discovery: 15.01.2014

Type of the meteorite: A lunar meteorite; More specifically an "anorthositic melt rock", which is a lunar rock that was melted when a meteorite hit the Moon.

The main mass of the Oued Awlitis 001 lunar meteorite, about 360 g, is currently on display in the Meteorite Hall of the Natural History Museum Vienna (Austria), being the by far largest lunar meteorite in a European public display.

Interestingly, this lunar rock alone weigh more than all the lunar material/samples brought back on Earth by the Soviet space program...

You can see the meteorite until the end of 2014 at the Museum - and with your generous support, it will be so for the next centuries!

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


The main objective of the consortium of internationally renowned scientists is to do a detailed study of the Oued Awlitis 001 lunar meteorite, using all state-of-the-art knowledge and scientific instrumentation available at the different partner institutions (see below).
The study will consist in the complete mineralogical characterization of the lunar meteorite in an effort to learn about the nature of the target rock(s) (i.e., the local rock(s) on the Moon from where the meteorite was derived) and on the different processes that have affected this meteorite after its crystallization, such as shock metamorphism induced by impacts.
Another main topic of research will consist in the characterization of the meteorite's chemical and isotopic properties, to be able, like with a "time machine", to go back to the first instants of formation of this rock.
For example, the cosmogenic radionuclides (and noble gases) will allow us to determine the terrestrial age (i.e., for how long this rock has resided on Earth) and cosmic-ray exposure age (i.e., for how long it was travelling in space) as well as to derive the ejection depth of the meteorite, orbital parameters, etc. The U-Pb system, together with the K-Ar (via the Ar-Ar isotope analyses), Sm-Nd, Rb-Sr, and Lu-Hf systems, will help us to constrain the age(s) of this meteorite and of its constituents. The U-Pb system may still also give us a hint on the age of the lunar target rock(s). Combined Sm and Hf isotope analyses will constrain the dosage and energy distribution of neutrons to which Oued Awlitis 001 had been exposed on the lunar surface and during transit to Earth. Such information will help identify secondary bias that potentially obscures primary isotopic features of this meteorite.

The idea is not only to investigate and transcribe the entire history of this unique meteorite, from its formation to its landing on Earth, but also to use the derived information to better understand the Moon and the impact flux onto the Earth-Moon system.

Scientific team:

Petrology and geochemistry:
Ludovic Ferrière [Natural History Museum Vienna, Austria; Link]
Randy L. Korotev [Washington University, Saint Louis, USA; Link]
Franz Brandstaetter [Natural History Museum Vienna, Austria; Link]
Svetlana I. Demidova [Vernadsky Institute, Moscow, Russia; Link]
Jörg Fritz [Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin, Germany; Link]
Gordon Osinski [Western University, London, Ontario, Canada; Link]
Julia Walter-Roszjár [Natural History Museum Vienna, Austria; Link]

Shock effects in minerals:
Jörg Fritz [Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin, Germany; Link]
Ludovic Ferrière [Natural History Museum Vienna, Austria; Link]

Isotopic studies:
* Argon-argon dating: Vera A. Fernandes [Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin, Germany]
* Uranium-Lead dating: Audrey Bouvier [Western University, London, Ontario, Canada; Link]
* Re-Os, Sm-Nd, and Rb-Sr isotope systems: Vinciane Debaille [Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium; Link]
* Lu-Hf- , Sm-Nd-isochron dating, and neutron-dosimetry: Peter Sprung [Universität zu Köln, Köln, Germany; Link]
* O and Si isotopes: Neil Banerjee [Western University, London, Ontario, Canada; Link]
* Lithium elemental and isotope systematics: Tomas Magna [Czech Geological Survey, Prague, Czech Republic; Link]
* Noble gases: Matthias M. M. Meier [CRPG-CNRS Nancy, Vandœuvre les Nancy, France; Link]
* Cosmogenic radionuclides:
A. J. Timothy Jull [University of Arizona, USA; Link]
Kunihiko Nishiizumi [University of California, Berkeley, USA; Link]
Pavel Povinec [Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia]

X-ray microtomography:
Roland Brunner [Materials Center Leoben Forschung GmbH (MCL), Leoben, Austria; Link]
Ludovic Ferrière [Natural History Museum Vienna, Austria; Link]

Organic spectroscopy (endogenous soluble organic compounds):
Philippe Schmitt-Kopplin [HelmholtzZentrum Muenchen, Neuherberg, Germany; Link]

Further information:

Please visit www.ulule.com/help-us-to-get-the-moon/ to support us with the acquisition and study of this meteorite; Thanks in advance for your support!

Please contact Ludovic Ferrière if you would like to join this effort and/or if you have some specific questions/comments.

In the news:

See here: www.meteorimpactonearth.com/inthenews

Main sponsors:

* Funder of lunar research (donation of €500 or more): This can be you!

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* Generous meteorite explorer (donation of €50 or more): This can be you!

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