Talk:Moon rock

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First post[edit]

The intro to this article bugs me. Anyone any comment on my changing it from

  • Moon rocks is the name that has been applied to the 382 kg (842 lbs.) of rocks and other samples collected during the Apollo program missions to the Moon. A total of six Apollo landings occured, and during the surface excursions 2,415 samples were taken. (The large majority were collected during the Apollo 15, 16, and 17 landings.) In addition, the Soviet Union sent three automated spacecraft to the Moon that returned an additional 301 g (0.66 lbs.) of samples.


  • Moon rocks defines the 382 kg (842 lbs.) of rocks and other samples collected during the Apollo program missions to the Moon. Six Apollo landings occured, and during the surface excursions 2,415 samples were taken, the majority by Apollo 15, 16 and 17. As well, three Soviet Union Luna spacecraft returned from the Moon with an additional 301 g (0.66 lbs.) of samples.

Moriori 21:12, August 6, 2005 (UTC)

Surely the collected rocks are the source of knowledge of the rocks on the actual moon, but I don't suppose "moon rock" can be defined as rock collected from the moon. Rocks still on the moon, or anywhere in the universe, are also moon rocks. Moon rocks should be defined as "rocks originating from the moon", or similar. The scope of this article should either be expanded or the article moved to "rocks collected from the moon", or similar. // habj 08:22, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

could you sort it?[edit]

could anyone sort the table with missions? i think it should be in the chronological order. the date of landing could be added too..

Age of the rocks???[edit]

The article states that:

"In general the rocks collected from the Moon are extremely old compared to rocks found on the Earth. The youngest of the rocks is older than the oldest rocks seen on Earth. They range in age from 3.2 billion years from the basalt samples from the lunar mares, up to 4.6 billion years in the highlands. As such they represent samples from a very early period in the formation of the Solar System."

But how on earth (or on the moon) does anyone know the age of the rocks? It's not like anyone can carbon date them or anything. If the article's gonna talk about their age, then it should at least say something about how we know (or at least guess) how old they are!

Hi there I'm not sure of your question. Why can't they be carbon dated, or otherwise dated? Moriori 08:04, 30 September 2005 (UTC)
Carbon dating has too short of a half-life for dating lunar rocks. I believe scientists used longer-lived radioactive isotopes, measuring such ratios as Rubidium-87/Strontium-87, etc. [1]RJH 22:24, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
Please become more informed. C14 dating has nothing to do with rocks. It is used on organic material. Also the half-life is relatively short such that with current technology (note the year I'm writing this; 2006) the limit for dating such material is around 80,000 years. With rocks you use radiometric dating methods on elements such as radioactive potassium, rubidium, or uranium. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
Fine, fine, there's no such thing as a carbon *COUGH*diamond*COUGH* rock. :-P — RJH 17:24, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

Further to age of the moon rocks - the highlands! The article purports them to be up to 4.6 billion years old, whilst the wiki on the solar system states that the solar system is 4.567 billion years old (by dating meteorites). I guess that the former figure has suffered from rounding because the rocks cannot be older then the solar system. Has anyone a more accurate figure for this?

Moon rocks are dated using a variety of techniques, most commonly Sm-Nd isochrons (works well for old rocks with plag and pyroxene) and various U-Pb methods. K-Ar and Ar-Ar are commonly used for mare basalts (don't work well on highland rocks). Also zircons are dated using U-Pb methods; zircons are found in the granitoid clasts (rare) and also in the regolith. It is also possible with several of these methods to determine model ages, which date age of separation of the source or sample from a pre-existing uniform source - commonly taken to be same as chondritic meteorites in isotopic composition. The 4.6 Ga age is rounded up from age for condensation of solar nebula based on Pb isotopes. There is a formation interval that can be estimated using short-lived Xe and Al isotopes. This is all discussed in some detail in Brent Dalrymple's book "The Age of the Earth" Geodoc (talk) 05:00, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

More rock pictures[edit]

It's actually only one picture, but maybe it could be incorporated into this article, none-the-less?:

Alternatively, the link might prove useful if someone ever tried to create a list of where all known moon rock specimines are... TerraFrost 23:25, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

Unfortunately thats got pretty crappy images... the first is way more on the stand than the stone... and the second one is largely distorted due to its embedding in plastic.  ALKIVARRadioactive.svg 00:11, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

The NASA Lunar Curator at Johnson Space Center, Dr. Gary Lofgren, should be a good contact in terms of getting pictures of moon rocks. Another source is the Public Affairs Officer at JSC. The operator number at JSC is (281) 483-0123. These pictures are usually given without any strings attached. I have used a few in articles I have written. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Captain02 (talkcontribs) 19:08, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

Suggestions for improvement before nominating as a Good article[edit]

I think that this article is a very nice start, and have a few comments on how it could be improved to good article status.

  • As it is now, this article has no sections. Subsections could include discussions concerning "collection" on the Moon, "curation" on Earth, a summary of the different types of rocks, and perhaps a summary of what has been learned about the Moon as a result of the samples.
  • More discussion should be given to the Luna samples
  • While I don't think that this is the place to discuss all the geochemical characteristics of the rocks, very short descriptions could be given for the "magnesian", "alkali", and "ferroan anorthosite suites. Very simple descriptions for the types of "rock" returned, such as "soil", "fines", "breccia", "impact melt", etc. could be listed and breifly defined.

Lunokhod 14:41, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Table showing basalt composition[edit]

There's a problem with the table showing basalt composition. The row with high titanium content basalt adds up to more than 100 %, which is absurd. Could someone knowledgeable, please, correct that? Thanks. (4:34, 21 March 2009) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Hmm, good point, it does seem like more than can be accounted for by round-off error (105%). It seems to have been added on Feb 6, 2006 as a move from the Geology of the Moon article. User:Lunokhod did the move and seems to be something of an expert in the field, but has not been working on the project since 2007. We should in any event find a source for this information. Any other thoughts? Best, --TeaDrinker (talk) 05:00, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

Theft from JSC[edit]

Current information here indic that among the thieves of the lunar samples from JSC, McWhorter is described as a NASA intern. Best information indic that he met Thad Roberts in Salt Lake City and (McWhorter)was never a NASA intern. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:37, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

Fake rock[edit]

The BBC has an article at [2] - any suitable bad puns? Jackiespeel (talk) 16:06, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

University of Phoenix[edit]

This was deleted from the talk page with no response--I was under the impression that statements on the talk page were not to be deleted unless with the contributing user's permission or if the statements are libelous or harassing in nature.

It seems like this article relies heavily on repeating information about the University of Phoenix's Moon Rock Program--any chance we could clean this up to be a little less repetitive? I understand that Gutheinz has the credentials to back up his research, but the article is starting to read like a propaganda piece for the university. Libbybees (talk) 19:11, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

I am the person who has posted much of the theft page and I actually received input from Gutheinz, who I know, and a couple of his students in doing this. If it sounds like the University of Phoenix gets mentioned a lot, it is because they are the only institution where students have been hunting down moon rocks for 8 years, and finding them. Even NASA defers questions to Gutheinz and his students. There was actually a documentary that came out about their project on the BBC Two in England back in 2007.

I do repeat a couple of lines when I am introducing a moon rock a student investigated. The reason for this is when someone is interested in a particular state, I want to give the reader just enough information so that he does not have to hunt down the information elsewhere. I understand from Gutheinz that there is another major development coming, which I will post when it happens.Captain02 2 August 2010 (UTC)

Thefts needs own page?[edit]

It looks like this should be two articles to me: all the moon rock theft stuff could be split off to its own page? What do others think? -- stillnotelf is invisible 18:59, 8 December 2010 (UTC)


This article says:

Almost all lunar rocks are depleted in volatiles and are completely lacking in hydrated minerals common in Earth rocks.

Lunar water says:

Water, and the chemically related hydroxyl group ( · OH), can also exist in forms chemically bound to lunar minerals (rather than as free water), and evidence strongly suggests that this is indeed the case in low concentrations over much of the Moon's surface.

Is there not some contradiction here? (talk) 14:27, 10 March 2013 (UTC)

What story do they tell?[edit]

We collected rocks from the Moon because they could tell us a story. What did rocks tell us about how the moon was formed and evolved? In the article we have the story about how the rocks were collected, which is good. We lack the story about what we learned from those rocks.

Looking forward, when we return to the moon, how will moon rocks play into that future story? Are the rocks strong or weak, hard or soft, easy or hard to shape? Could we build structures out of moon rock? Can moon rocks be processed into other usable forms? Can oxygen be extracted from moon rocks?

All of which might merit a distinct article or articles, someday. At the very least a mention is appropriate here. We collected moon rocks to tell us a stories about the past and future. What stories did they tell us?

Along the same vein, the "Classification" section is nearly impenetrable. Too much "what" and not enough "why". Good to know what was found. Better if the article explained why each was interesting.

(How do we go about finding an expert on moon rock?) pbannister (talk) 20:18, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

I agree with much of what you say; I don't know about "can we build with it" (verifiability), but certainly much is lacking here about the geological story. And it's not really too hard to find some; Andrew Chaikin's A Man on the Moon writes much about the geological significance of the findings of each Apollo mission, as determined in near "real time" as a team of geologists who trained the astronauts, monitored their explorations and interactively communicated with them (through the CAPCOMs) as to what specifically to collect. The samples found on Apollo 16, for example, shot down their theories about how that region was formed because the astronauts simply were not finding the type of rock they expected. JustinTime55 (talk) 21:45, 8 August 2013 (UTC)