Photo gallery: Rare samples of moon rocks and meteorites at Old School, Henstead

Year 4 children from The Old School, Henstead get a chance to study samples of moon rocks and meteo

Year 4 children from The Old School, Henstead get a chance to study samples of moon rocks and meteorites. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Rare samples of moon rocks and a collection of impressive meteorites have landed at one north Suffolk school giving students to chance to touch a real piece of space.

Pupils at The Old School, Henstead, have been getting to know the moon personally, thanks to a loan of the materials by the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

Included in the artefacts is a 1.2b year old piece of Mars and a 4.3b year old hand-sized meteorite, the oldest object a human will ever hold in their hands.

The lunar samples were collected in the late 1960s and early 1970s during some of NASA’s first manned space missions to the moon.

A massive 382kg of material was brought back to earth, mostly for use by scientists in their studies of the moon, but small quantities are used to develop lunar and planetary sciences educational packages like the one loaned to the school this week.

The STFC provides outreach programmes to inspire young people and complement classroom studies.

Professor John Womersley, chief executive officer said: “This is a great opportunity for young people to be able to see, touch and really experience such important and exciting messengers from space–turning science fiction into science fact.

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“It’s an unforgettable experience to be able to hold such an important part of science history that has made such an incredible journey over millions of miles to reach us – and one we hope will inspire the scientists of the future.”

Children got the chance during lessons to handle the meteorites and moon rocks, which have been encapsulated in perspex.

And Peter Lincoln, deputy headteacher held assemblies about the various missions to the moon including Neil Armstong’s expedition in 1969, which included videos and photographs.

Mr Lincoln applied to the Council around six months ago for loan of the samples after a being told about them by a parent.

“We have tried to make it an event and something that the children will always remember,” he said.