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Upminster pupils close encounter with oldest objects in the universe

07:00 20 January 2014

Students Jack Conroy and Evie Thomas, both 12, study moon rock and meteorites

Students Jack Conroy and Evie Thomas, both 12, study moon rock and meteorites

Archant

Starry-eyed pupils and teachers were over the moon as they examined some of the oldest objects in the universe.

Scientists visited The Coopers’ Company and Coborn School in St Mary’s Lane, Upminster, last week, with samples of lunar rocks and ancient space debris.

The samples included a 1.2 billion-year-old piece of Mars and a 4.3 billion-year-old nickel meteorite, which scientists say is nearly as old as the solar system.

“This is one of the most amazing things that I have experienced,” said director of faculty and head of physics, Esther McCall.

“Holding meteorites that have travelled though space and fallen to Earth is fantastic.

£Better still is seeing rock fragments and dust that have actually come from our Moon – wow!”

The samples were brought in by the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC),

Some were collected in the late 1960s and 1970s during Nasa’s first missions to the Moon.

STFC’s chief executive officer, Prof John Womersley, said: “This is a great opportunity for young people to be able to really experience such 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 – one we hope will inspire the scientists of the future.”

Pupils were also impressed. Jade Levin said: “It is an entirely unique lesson.”

Jack Conroy said of the samples: “It’s quite inspirational to know they have come from out of space and into our school.”

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