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Solfe
2015-Apr-04, 03:12 PM
If you transported Mars or Moon rocks and soils back to Earth and placed them on a table, would Joe Average be able to identify that they are from a different planet? Are there any exceptional qualities that would set them apart from earthly rocks for a skilled eye? To me, Moon rock and dust looks like concrete, but I've only seen them in videos.

Eclogite
2015-Apr-05, 01:43 AM
If you transported Mars or Moon rocks and soils back to Earth and placed them on a table, would Joe Average be able to identify that they are from a different planet? In my experience Joe Average has trouble distinguishing markedly different terrestrial rocks from each other and would be woefully ill equipped to distinguish samples from another planet, unless they had a large brass plaque attached.

Meteorites from Mars and from the moon sat in collections around the world before they were recognised for what they are, so even the skilled eye needs a lot of help. In the case of Martian specimens it was the composition/ratios of trapped atmosphere which matched that measured by the Viking landers. There are also isotope ratios that help pin down lunar material, but some aspects of the petrology would also be suggestive.

fjong1200
2015-Apr-06, 12:19 AM
How can we distinguish rocks from the moon collected on earth from the ones collected on the moon?

Swift
2015-Apr-06, 01:45 AM
How can we distinguish rocks from the moon collected on earth from the ones collected on the moon?
Rocks from the moon collected on Earth show evidence of passing through our atmosphere as meteors.

fjong1200
2015-Apr-06, 02:11 AM
if they are not broken apart on entry i suppose that they will have a burn crust. But if they are fragmentet stones from the moon suggesting a stone/s big enough to survive entry could a large amount not be without that crust?
And im thinking more in terms of somebody trying to deliberatly "sell" a moon rock collected on earth as a moon collected on the moon surely that somebody would remove any signs of crust right.
and i guess it would make it more valuable or prove a point for those so inclined ;)

Swift
2015-Apr-06, 12:46 PM
And im thinking more in terms of somebody trying to deliberatly "sell" a moon rock collected on earth as a moon collected on the moon surely that somebody would remove any signs of crust right.
and i guess it would make it more valuable or prove a point for those so inclined ;)
Since NASA has records of every sample brought back from the Moon (the information is on-line, I'm too lazy at the moment to track it down), I would assume a buyer would want some evidence as to how such a sample came to the seller, and some record of the chain of custody.

Squink
2015-Apr-06, 10:37 PM
Last I checked, rhyolite was still rhyolite, basalt still basalt, no matter which minor planet it came from. Isotopic analyisis might tell the tale, but not the mark one eyeball.