10017 - Fine grained ilmenite basalt
Click the microscope button to view a thin section for this sample.
Click the microscope button to view a thin section for this sample.

Fact sheet

10017 - Fine grained ilmenite basalt

10017 is the largest rock sample returned by the astronauts on the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon. It is a fine-grained, vesicular, ilmenite basalt that crystallised around 3.6 billion years ago. The entire surface of the sample is covered in micrometeorite craters (pits) indicating that since being exposed at the Moon's surface it is has rolled around to that all its faces have at some point been exposed. Scientists have determined that this sample has lain at the surface for 480 million years, so there has been plenty of time for local impacts to cause it to move.

In the thin section, the high concentration of Ilmenite in the sample causes it to have a high Ti content - enough for the sample to be descibed as a high Ti basalt. Other major minerals include plagioclase feldspar and clinopyroxene. Between this framework of crystals is an interstitial high K glass. The rock is vesicular, meaning that there must have been gas exsolving as it erupted, and has a heterogeneous teture caused by mineral segregations and differences in grain size. Troilite (an iron sulphide), cristobalite and phosphate have also been reported, although only in very minor  amounts.

Further details of this and other Apollo samples are here: http://curator.jsc.nasa.gov/lunar/

About this collection

The Apollo 11 samples create an iconic collection since they were the first rocks collected by humankind that were returned to Earth from another solar system body. The Apollo 11 team collected and returned 22 kg of rock and soil samples.

Apollo 11 launched from Cape Kennedy on 16 July 1969. An estimated 530 million people watched Armstrong's televised image and heard his voice describe the event as he took "...one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind" on 20 July 1969.

Sample details

Collection: Apollo 11
Rock-forming mineral
Accessory minerals
metallic iron
Category guide  
Category Guide
Refers to any word or phrase that appears in the individual rock names. Names are generally descriptive; they allow users to search for broad terms like ‘granite’ as well as more specific names such as ‘breccia’. However, the adjacent descriptions of the specimens captures a wider range of general words and phrases and is a more powerful search tool.
Refers to any word or phrase that appears anywhere in the descriptions of the specimens
Accessory minerals
Minerals that occur in very low abundance in a rock. They are usually not visible with the naked eye and contribute perhapssver, they often dominate the rare elements such as platinum group metals.
Rock-forming minerals
Minerals that make up the bulk of all rock samples and are also the ones used in rock classi?cation.
Selecting one or more period, for example 'Jurassic'.
A term used to group together related samples that are not already gathered into a single Collection. For instance, there is a ‘SW England granites’ theme that includes such rock types as granite, hydrothermal breccia, skarn and vein samples.
A general term used to label a rock sample. It is a useful way of grouping similar samples throughout a collection. Category names are often, but not exclusively, common rock names (e.g. granite, basalt, dolerite, gabbro, greisen, skarn, gneiss, amphibolite, limestone, sandstone).
The owner of the sample that appears in the collection. For example, NASA owns all the samples that appear in the Moon Rocks collection