Text Size

LSP Employees View Moon Rocks and Meteorites
A NASA Lunar Sample Disk A lunar sample disk used for NASA educational events.

lsp employees view lunar disks A Launch Services Program employee views lunar materials through a microscope.

lsp employees view lunar sample disks through microscope Two LSP Employees view the lunar and meteorite samples at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.
The Launch Services Program (LSP) Outreach Office, with the support of the Kennedy Space Center Educator Resource Center, scheduled an employee viewing of NASA’s moon rocks and meteorite samples.

This hands-on event gave LSP employees at the Kennedy Space Center a chance to view the precious and priceless educational resources. One by one, employees viewed the samples through microscopes, the best method for seeing the interesting details, vibrant colors and unique make-up of each individual sample.

“Having the microscope there to get a closer look was really helpful. Plus, having the education outreach folks there to answer questions was great,” said Larry Fineburg, an LSP Mission Integration Engineer.

Larry Fineburg stated he had seen moon rocks at NASA visitor centers across the country, but this event was unique because he could take his time, ask questions and really examine the lunar materials more closely.

The samples are part of NASA’s Lunar and Meteorite Disk Program, which provides them to certified teachers for educational events. Teachers can receive certification by attending a training workshop conducted by NASA Space Science Education Specialists. Once certified, teachers can request the educational disks from the Johnson Space Center to help students learn about the early history of the solar system.

This unique viewing opportunity was held at the Kennedy Space Center and in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the two-week long Apollo 16 moon mission. All told, NASA astronauts returned 846 pounds of lunar material for research and investigation through all six of the Apollo missions from 1969 - 1972.

The lunar disk contained six different samples of moon materials (three soils and three rocks) encapsulated in a six-inch diameter clear lucite disk. The lunar samples were Lunar Basalt, Breccia, Highland Soil, Anorthosite, Mare Soil and Orange Soil.

“It took a tremendous effort for our country to get these rocks to Earth from 250,000 miles away and now they are sitting on a table right in front of me,” said Larry Fineburg. “It makes me proud to be an American.”

The meteorite disk contained six labeled meteorites that were embedded in a 15 cm plastic disk. These pieces of asteroids represent the products of basic planetary processes such as accretion, differentiation, volcanism and impact.

The meteorite materials come from sites all around the world including Antarctica, Mexico, Africa and the United States. The materials consist of various types of Chondrite, Basaltic Achondrite, Octahedrite, Pallasite and Carbonaceous Chondrite.

To learn more about NASA’s Lunar and Meteorite Disk Program or how teachers can become certified to participate in this educational program, please click on the following link.

› NASA Lunar and Meteorite Disk Program
Christopher Blair,
NASA's Launch Services Program