Moon rock

Image number: L2011-4042_(0019)

Moon rock

This piece of Moon rock was cut from the ‘Great Scott’ rock that Apollo 15 astronaut David Scott picked from the Moon’s surface in August 1971. The rock is made of olivine basalt and was part of an ancient lava flow, formed billions of years earlier when single-celled life had barely begun on Earth.

The Apollo Moon landing missions (1969–72) brought almost 400 kg of lunar samples back to Earth. Scientists studying them have learned that the Moon is about 4.5 billion years old and is likely to have been formed from the debris thrown into orbit when a planet-sized body slammed into the young Earth.

Weighing 83g, this rock, like all the Moon rocks returned to Earth, is kept in a nitrogen-filled glass container so that it never comes into contact with the Earth’s atmosphere.

Image number:
Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library
Image rights:
Science Museum

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