Meteorites, moon rocks and even a fragment from Mars are just a few of the celestial items the public can pick up at auction this week.
Christie's auction house in New York City will present 75 of the astral rocks and other rare items from outer space in its "Deep Impact: Martian, Lunar and Other Rare Meteorites" online sale, which begins Tuesday morning and will continue through February 23.
One of the more prized items in the collection includes a Gibeon meteorite that reportedly formed some "4.5 billion years ago from the molten core of an asteroid located between Mars and Jupiter" that was part of an asteroid belt. The object entered our atmosphere thousands of years ago before landing in the Kalahari Desert in Namibia. The rock weighs 33 pounds and could fetch up to $180,000.
Also up for grabs is the fourth largest slice of the moon in the world. Christie's wrote that while the specimen was discovered on Earth, scientific analysis revealed that it ended up on our planet after the impact a comet flung it into space and it made its way here. It is almost four times larger than the biggest rock brought back from lunar missions. The slice, which looks unlike most other pieces of moon rock, could garner as much as $250,000.
Another unusual item in the collection is a piece of material from Mars. Like the lunar slice, this fragment ended up on Earth after it was blasted from the surface of the red planet after an asteroid impact. It eventually made its way through space and ended up in the northwest African region of the Sahara Desert. According to Christie's, this portion of our celestial neighbor is one of the "most exotic substances" on our planet and is expected to sell for at least $30,000.
A specimen from a meteorite shower that occurred over the town of Murchison, Australia, will also be up for auction. The object reportedly contains tens of thousands of organic compounds, including 7-billion-year-old sand. More than 95 percent of its surface is covered with a crust that contains some of the oldest matter mankind can touch.