200709meteorite.jpgThe Willamette Meteorite may have landed in Oregon in 1902, but the 15.5-ton rock has resided in NYC for the past 101 years. The American Museum of Natural History acquired it in 1906 and it's been on display there ever since.

Now a 28-lb chunk of that meteorite is about to be on the auction block, with an expected price tag of $1.3 million (the entire thing was originally purchased for $26,000 prior to being donated to the museum). This chunk was divided from the meteorite in 1998 when the museum took off the section to trade with the Macovich Collection. What did they get in return? A half-ounce piece of Mars! If you've got tons of spare change lying around and are in the market for your own piece of space...the auction is at Bonhams on October 28th and will be the first-ever auction exclusively of meteorites.

In the past there has been some conflict with the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde and the AMNH. The former claimed the meteorite was a sacred object that rightfully belonged to them. This was settled when the tribe was given the right to hold an annual ceremony at the Rose Center. Perhaps the 28-lb chunk should be returned to them...who wants to transport a 15.5 ton object cross country anyway?

Photo of the Willamette Meteorite via StarChild.