PerspectivePlanetary Science

A Unique Chunk of the Moon

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Science  30 Jul 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5684, pp. 622-623
DOI: 10.1126/science.1100888

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In the late 1970s, after the Apollo lunar missions, researchers and collectors began finding meteorites in deserts that turned out to be rocks ejected from the Moon's surface some time in the past. In his Perspective, Korotev discusses results reported in the same issue by Gnos et al. on a unique lunar meteorite collected in January 2002. This object, designated Sayh al Uhaymir 169, has unusually high concentrations of thorium and related elements, much higher than those of other lunar meteorites or all but a few samples returned during the Apollo missions. On the basis of lead isotope dating, Sayh al Uhaymir 169 also appears to be older than thorium-rich Apollo samples, calling into question past age assignments for the Imbrium basin impact.