Exciting rare samples of moon rocks and a collection of impressive meteorites landed at Teesside High School on Monday 21 November for a weeks’ visit.

Students were able to enjoy a unique, interactive experience of astronomy during their lessons. Highlights included getting up close and personal with some hand-sized meteorites, enabling students to touch a real piece of space. Included in the educational pack is a 1.2 billion year old piece of Mars and a 4.3 billion year old nickel meteorite – the oldest object you 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.

Katie Ward, Head of Physics at Teesside High School, said: “The last week has provided our students and pupils from visiting primary schools the opportunity to see and handle rare lunar samples and take part in a range of exciting activities aimed at boosting their understanding and engagement in Science.

“As a School with an outstanding reputation for STEM subjects, we are delighted to have worked so closely with STFC to secure the moon rock visit.”

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.