At the Montreal Science Center, a Moon rock will be on display for the next five years, and every curious visitor can hold it. The lunar rock, loaned by the museum from NASA, is the tenth such specimen to be exhibited in museums around the world.
Collected in 1972 during the Apollo 17 mission, the last one to reach our natural satellite, this Moon rock is approximately four billion years old.
When the Center contacted NASA to get a sample of Moon rock, nobody really thought the US space agency would loan them one of their specimens so fast. Luckily, a letter from a former Canadian astronaut boosted the filing and made NASA speed up the process.
“It was really a privilege. The letter of support from Julie Payette, our director at the time, really helped,” said Cybele Robichaud, director of programming at the Montreal Science Center.
The Moon rock will be on display at the Montreal Science Center for five years
Since its exhibition on Friday, according to Robichaud, the visitors were “surprised and amazed by this possibility they have to touch the Moon.”
Sara Arsenault, the project’s leader, traveled to Houston, Texas, USA, to bring the lunar rock back to Canada inside a lunchbox. “For the customs officers, when you have something like a lunchbox, they want to know what’s inside. So I had to say many, many times, ‘I have a moon rock.’ They were not ready for that,” stated Arsenault.
“What’s special is not only that it’s old because it came from the moon, but also there’s the Apollo mission behind it and the people who brought it back,” said Caroline Viger, one of the museum’s visitors who also had the chance to see another Moon rock at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
The Moon rock will remain on display at the Montreal Science Center for five years.