Ingoldisthorpe pupils with space samples.

Pupils at Ingoldisthorpe Primary School were quite literally ‘over the moon’ to be one of the first schools in Norfolk to examine samples of rare rocks and meteorites.

Pupils touched down on Friday with an interactive astronomy experience provided by the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council.

The lunar samples were collected in the late 1960s and early 70s during some of NASA’s first manned space missions to the moon.

Headteacher Keith Twaites said the priceless samples were irreplaceable, which meant security surrounding their arrival had to be very tight.

The hands-on experience came about after Mr Twaites heard about the project and contacted the organisers.

He said it was a great experience for the children, who have been learning about space programmes and the planets.

The lunar material brought back to earth has been used mostly by scientists, but some has been set aside for educational purposes.

Professor John Womersley, chief executive of the Science and Technology Facilities Council, said: “This is a great opportunity for young people to be able to see, touch and really experience such important and exciting messengers from space.”

He added: “It’s an unforgettable experience to be able to hold such an important part of science history that has made such an incredible journey over millions of miles to reach us – and one we hope will inspire the scientists of the future.”

The science session included hand-sized meteorites and a 1.2 billion-year-old piece of rock from Mars.