Lunar Meteorites: A Cosmic Journey To Earth

Lunar Meteorites: A Cosmic Journey To Earth

Lunar Meteorite

Have you ever wondered about rocks that have traveled millions of miles across the vastness of space, only to land right here on Earth? Enter the fascinating world of lunar meteorites, celestial wanderers that originate from our very own Moon.

What Are Lunar Meteorites?

A lunar meteorite, also known as a lunaite, is a rock fragment that once resided on the Moon’s surface. These extraterrestrial travelers were ejected from the Moon due to powerful impacts from asteroidal meteoroids or perhaps even comets. Imagine a cosmic collision that hurls a piece of the Moon into space, hurtling toward our planet.

View and Purchase Our Range of Meteorites Here


Discovery and Rarity

The story of lunar meteorites begins with an Antarctic expedition in January 1982. John Schutt, part of the ANSMET program, stumbled upon a peculiar meteorite in the icy wilderness. This rock, now known as Allan Hills 81005, stood out as something extraordinary. Smithsonian Institution geochemist Brian Mason recognized its uncanny resemblance to Moon rocks brought back by the Apollo missions. A few years later, Japanese scientists also identified a lunar meteorite, Yamato 791197, collected during their 1979 Antarctic field season.

As of July 2019, 371 lunar meteorites have been discovered, representing more than 30 separate meteorite falls. These stones often come in “paired” fragments from the same meteoroid. Their combined mass exceeds a whopping 1,090 kilograms (2,400 pounds). Remarkably, all lunar meteorites have been found in deserts—primarily Antarctica, northern Africa, and the Sultanate of Oman. Curiously, none have been unearthed in North America, South America, or Europe.

How Do They Get Here?

Lunar meteorites embark on a cosmic odyssey. First, they are launched from the Moon by impacts, creating craters a few kilometers in diameter or smaller. While the exact source craters remain elusive, one intriguing candidate is the Lalande impact crater on the Moon’s nearside. These lunar wanderers then endure a journey through space, buffeted by cosmic rays. Their exposure history reveals that they left the Moon within the past 20 million years, with most departing in the last 100,000 years.

Once free from lunar gravity, some meteoroids orbit Earth before succumbing to our planet’s pull. Others venture farther, orbiting the Sun until they intersect Earth’s orbit and find their way home.

So next time you gaze at the Moon, remember that some of its ancient secrets have already journeyed to Earth, tucked away in the form of lunar meteorites. These cosmic messengers remind us of the interconnectedness of our solar system and the wonders that lie beyond our blue planet.

View and Purchase Our Range of Meteorites Here



  1. Wikipedia: Lunar Meteorite
  2. Washington University: Lunar Meteorites
  3. AstroGeo: Lunar Meteorites
  4. ScienceDirect Topics: Lunar Meteorite