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SPS researchers take the Moon to Edinburgh Science Festival

Photo from L-R: Craig Walton (a PhD student at Cambridge and former intern and collaborator with Dr Mahesh Anand of SPS), Dr James Mortimer, Tara Hayden (SPS first year PhD students in Planetary Science), and Ross Findlay (SPS first year PhD students in Planetary Science).

Some of our researchers attended the Edinburgh Science Festival, held in the Scottish capital in April, showcasing an Apollo Moon sample and other precious meteorites.  

One of the OU activities at the festival was called “The Moon Under The Microscope”, which displayed an Apollo sample and other precious meteorites “live” using our Virtual (optical) Microscope and our Open STEM’s remotely controlled Scanning Electron Microscope. The Scanning Electron Microscope, physically located in Milton Keynes and containing the Moon rock, was remotely accessed from Edinburgh via an internet connection.

This is the first time an Apollo Moon rock has been showcased in real-time outside the secure walls of a dedicated scientific lab and has made this fascinating science accessible to all, which is truly within the spirit of the Open University.

It has taken a great deal of joint effort, firstly from the Open STEM labs, but also from our SPS researchers to make this to happen and we’re very proud of the stand they put together for the festival. It is a great year for Moon-related science because it is now 50 years since the first Apollo mission, and the Open University share this anniversary as they are celebrating their 50th anniversary too.