Children at Hurstpierpoint school get a taste of life on Mars

Children at a Hurstpierpoint school got a taste of life on Mars after being given a chance to study rare meteor samples.

Friday, 24th January 2020, 4:00 pm
Updated Friday, 24th January 2020, 4:39 pm

Pupils from St Lawrence Primary were over the moon when they got an opportunity to handle billion-years-old space rocks and meteorites - along with a 1.2 billion-year-old piece of Mars rock.

It was all part of special science lessons on space exploration.

The rare samples were provided by the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council which provides education packs to schools in a bid to inspire children to get involved in science.

Children at St Lawrence Primay School, Hurstpierpoint,, with some lunar rocks SUS-200123-155748001

As well as the Mars rock, youngsters at St Lawrence Primary also had a chance to handle a 4.3 billion-year-old nickel meteorite.

A school spokesman said: “It is unlikely that students will ever get the chance to hold an object older than this, as Earth itself was formed 4.6 billion years ago.”

The lunar samples were collected in the late 1960s and early 1970s during some of NASA’s first manned space missions to the moon.

During the missions, a staggering 382kg of material was brought back to Earth – mostly for use by scientists.

Science and Technology Facilites Council chairman Professor Mark Thomson said: “We are thrilled to be able to offer this unique opportunity to young people.

“It is not often they will be able to see close-up, and actually touch, such important fragments of science history.

“Samples like these are vital in teaching us more about our solar system, allowing us to confront theory with fact.

“We hope this experience will encourage the students to take up a career in science.”

In June 2003 the European Space Agency launched Mars Express, a mission to study the Red Planet in detail, which is now sending back exciting information, including evidence of methane, that might point to the existence of life.