Rare samples of moon rock and lunar dust landed at Old Buckenham Hall School, Ipswich on 14 November 2011 for a four day visit. Meteorites of different kinds formed part of the display and students were able to handle and study them, seeing the obvious differences in the materials they are made from.
The lunar samples, provided by the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council were collected during NASA’s manned space missions to the Moon in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. During these missions the Apollo astronauts brought back to Earth 382 kilograms of lunar material. Most of this material is used by scientists to study the Moon, but NASA decided to use a small proportion of the rock and soil to develop lunar and planetary sciences educational packages.
Science and Technology Facilities Council Chief Executive, Professor John Womersley said “It’s incredible to think, that when you hold a meteorite, you are handling something that may have travelled millions of miles to fall on the Earth. Meteorites can tell us a great deal about the places they originated from.” He added “It’s amazing that almost forty years after the lunar samples were collected, scientists are still not sure how the Moon formed!”
The Council offers a free of charge, short-term loan system of the lunar samples to educational and scientific organisations within the United Kingdom.
The Science and Technology Facilities Council is keeping the UK at the forefront of international science and tackling some of the most significant challenges facing society such as meeting our future energy needs, monitoring and understanding climate change, and global security.
The Council has a broad science portfolio and works with the academic and industrial communities to share its expertise in materials science, space and ground-based astronomy technologies, laser science, microelectronics, wafer scale manufacturing, particle and nuclear physics, alternative energy production, radio communications and radar.