Many of your questions should be answered by the 'Borrowers Notes', but here is some additional information about the loan.
STFC has five sets of samples that we loan out, plus one set on semi-permanent loan to Liverpool Museum
The Lunar samples are on loan from NASA and the meteorites belong to the Natural History Museum, NASA and STFC.
The moon rocks are presented in a Perspex disc, the University set includes microscope slides (also known as 'thin sections')
Unfortunately no, the samples are permanently sealed in the Perspex disc to protect them.
Every set includes Meteorite chunks, the black case has an encapsulated disc of Meteorite, and the more advance sets include 'thin sections'.
The samples are loaned free of charge.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you are unsure about your security, please contact the Lunar Samples Loan Co-ordinator, who will be pleased to advise you.
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.
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.
The Natural History Museum| has useful information on their website.
Thin sections are very thin slices of rock.
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.
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.