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Borrow the Moon FAQs

Many of your questions should be answered by the 'Borrowers Notes', but here is some additional information about the loan.

  1. How many sets of Lunar Samples does STFC have?

    STFC has five sets of samples that we loan out, plus one set on semi-permanent loan to Liverpool Museum

  2. Who do the samples belong to?

    The Lunar samples are on loan from NASA and the meteorites belong to the Natural History Museum, NASA and STFC.

  3. What do the lunar samples look like?

    The moon rocks are presented in a Perspex disc, the University set includes microscope slides (also known as 'thin sections')

  4. Can I touch the moon rocks?

    Unfortunately no, the samples are permanently sealed in the Perspex disc to protect them.

  5. What do the meteorites look like?

    Every set includes Meteorite chunks, the black case has an encapsulated disc of Meteorite, and the more advance sets include 'thin sections'.

  6. Will the loan cost me anything?

    The samples are loaned free of charge.

  7. Will I need to insure the samples

    No, The samples are priceless and uninsurable - this is why we have to visit you to inspect your security before we can agree the loan.

  8. How do I book the Samples?

    You can download an application form and Security rules for borrowers from the STFC Website.  Before you complete the application form please read the Security rules for borrowers carefully and contact the Loans Co-ordinator to check the dates you want are available.

  9. What happens next?

    Providing the dates you require are available, the Loans Co-ordinator will make a provisional booking, then will arrange to visit you to inspect your security arrangements and complete the paperwork.  At the same time you can ask more questions about the loan.

  10. How far in advance do I need to book the lunar samples?

    The samples can be reserved up to a year in advance - the minimum you should allow is four months.  However popular dates are often booked up months in advance, so please check with STFC before submitting your application form.

  11. I would like to borrow the samples - but I don't think I have anywhere safe enough

    If you are unsure about your security, please contact the Lunar Samples Loan Co-ordinator, who will be pleased to advise you.

  12. I would like to borrow the samples, but I am not sure how to make the best use of them - any suggestions?

    Each loan comes with a wide range of support materials in various formats (books, DVD, CD Rom) that will help with lesson planning and give you ideas for activities. Much of this information will be provided in advance of the loan. The Loan Co-ordinator will tell you more about this when they visit.

  13. Where can I find out more information about moon rocks?

    You can visit the following official NASA Web pages:

    Please note, if you are in the UK you cannot borrow the samples through this website.

  14. Where can I find out about meteorites?

    The Natural History Museum| has useful information on their website.

  15. The Borrowers' Notes refer to 'Thin Sections' - what are thin sections?*

    Thin sections are very thin slices of rock.

  16. The Borrowers' Notes say the Lunar Thin Sections should be viewed using a Petrographic Microscope - what is that and why should I use one?

    Thin sections need to be viewed by having light shone up through them.  Regular microscopes, of the type commonly found in schools, bounce the light off the specimen - so are not much good for looking at thin sections. A Petrographic microscope is used by geologists and is a microscope with a polarised light source.  If you do not have access to a Petrographic microscope you can use a light box and a lens.

  17. I have heard that the moon landings were a hoax - is there any proof that the Americans went to the moon?

    There are many sites about the  'Hoax Theory' on the internet. The Bad Astronomy website has links to Hoax Supporter and Hoax Debunker sites.

* Thin sections are only to be used for university groups. However each bag contains a memory stick which contains digital images of the thin sections for everyone to use.

Science and Technology Facilities Council Switchboard: 01793 442000