STUDENTS at a Hereford primary school have had the opportunity to get their hands on rare samples of moon rocks which were truly out of this world.

These rare samples were provided to Riverside Primary School from NASA to inspire the children in their science lessons.

The children were encouraged to reach for the stars and learn more about the universe in their interactive experience of astronomy. They were given unique opportunities to touch space rocks as they handled the genuine pieces of the moon.

Mrs Samantha Sweetman, a class teacher and science coordinator at the school, said: "During the time we had with the rock samples, the children took part in a variety of activities. We used USB microscopes, magnaprobes and scales. We used resources that were provided by NASA alongside the rock samples to locate landing sites of the Apollo missions, investigate footprints that were left on the moon and also design our own rockets. The most exciting part of the week was being able to hold a piece of the moon.

"The children (and adults!) became fully immersed in all things space. The classrooms were buzzing with excitement and this experience is one they will remember for a lifetime. We have inspired the next generation of scientists and astronauts."


The moon rocks were originally brought to Earth by astronauts from the Apollo missions between 1969 and 1972.

The six space flights returned 2,200 separate samples from six different exploration sites on the moon. This included 382 kilogrammes of lunar rocks, core samples, pebbles, and dust from the lunar surface.

Further samples were collected and brought to Earth by Chinese and Soviet automated space crafts.

Some of the rocks have also naturally fallen to earth as lunar meteorites.

Rocks from the moon have been measured by scientists using radiometric dating techniques, with some thought to be up to 4.44 billion years old.

NASA says that nearly 400 samples are distributed each year for research and teaching projects, which yield useful information about the early history of the moon and the solar system.