The beautiful and mysterious Fukang meteorite quite literally is out of this world.
When it slammed into the surface of Earth, there was little sign of the beauty that lay inside. But cutting the Fukang meteorite open yielded a breathtaking sight. Within the rock, translucent golden crystals of a mineral called olivine gleamed among a silvery honeycomb of nickel-iron.
The rare meteorite weighed about the same as a hatchback when it was discovered in 2000, in the Gobi Desert in China's Xinjiang Province. It has since been divided into slices which give the effect of stained glass when the sun shines through them. An anonymous collector holds the largest portion, which weighs 925lb. in 2008, this piece was expected to fetch $2million (£1.26million) at auction at Bonham's in New York, but it remained unsold.
Arizona's Southwest Meteorite Laboratory, which holds about 70lb of the rock, says the remarkable find will turn out to be 'one of the greatest meteorite discoveries of the 21st century'. The Arizona lab's experts say pallasites, whose make-up of half nickel-iron, half olivine gives them their mosaic-like appearance, are 'thought to be relics of forming planets'.