History of Meteorites from the Moon Collected in Antarctica

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Science  15 Sep 1989:
Vol. 245, Issue 4923, pp. 1197-1202
DOI: 10.1126/science.245.4923.1197


In large asteroidal or cometary impacts on the moon, lunar surface material can be ejected with escape velocities. A few of these rocks were captured by Earth and were recently collected on the Antarctic ice. The records of noble gas isotopes and of cosmic ray—produced radionuclides in five of these meteorites reveal that they originated from at least two different impact craters on the moon. The chemical composition indicates that the impact sites were probably far from the Apollo and Luna landing sites. The duration of the moon-Earth transfer for three meteorites, which belong to the same fall event on Earth, lasted 5 to 11 million years, in contrast to a duration of less than 300,000 years for the two other meteorites. From the activities of cosmic ray—produced radionuclides, the date of fall onto the Antarctic ice sheet is calculated as 70,000 to 170,000 years ago.