Lunar rock samples May 2017

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Moon Landings

16 May 2017

Walthamstow Hall’s annual Science Week had a launch of lunar proportions last week as exciting rare samples of moon rocks and a collection of impressive meteorites landed in Holly Bush Lane on 10th May.

Students were able to enjoy a unique, interactive experience of astronomy during their lunchtime. Highlights included getting up close and personal with some hand-sized meteorites, enabling students to touch a real piece of space. The samples included a 1.2 billion year old piece of Mars and a 4.3 billion year old nickel meteorite – the oldest object the students will ever hold in your hands! Our solar system is only 4.6 billion years old.

The lunar samples, provided by the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) 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 lunar 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 this one.

Samples like these can tell us a great deal about where they originate, but we still have so much to learn! STFC is dedicated to providing science outreach programmes to inspire young people and complement classroom studies.

STFC’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Brian Bowsher 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. 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!”

STFC offers a free of charge, short-term loan of the lunar samples to educational and scientific organisations within the United Kingdom.

Walthamstow Hall will continue to explore the mysteries of space this week with a programme including making telescopes, spectroscopes and models of the international space station; finding the best filter to protect against ultra-violet radiation in space; building aliens and using space gloves as well as interactive shows from the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.

Pupils from Walthamstow Hall Junior School and neighbouring St John’s Primary School will also visit the Senior School to join in with some of the Science Week activities.