What’s one of the best ways to inform the public about space? By bringing space to the public! That’s what Dr. Dilip Adhikari, founder and chair of the board of directors for the Everest Science Center Nepal, had in mind when he requested a short-term loan for a lunar sample from Johnson Space Center earlier this year.
The moon rock, a 120-gram, 3.75-billion-year-old sample, was put on display in Nepal on Aug. 5 and was obtained on the occasion of Neil Armstrong’s birthday. The exhibit is part of the country’s initiative to raise awareness of science and encourage Nepalese scientists researching abroad to return to Nepal and demonstrate their expertise.
Adhikari is already pleased with the number of schools who have visited the lunar sample, which is housed in the Everest Science Center. The museum is the only science museum in Nepal and is located close to the border of Nepal and India. The museum expects up to 1 million visitors during the month-long exhibition.
While visiting JSC to pick up the lunar sample, Adhikari was able to tour the lunar sample lab and vault. He also visited the historic Apollo Mission Control Center, as well as the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility, where he had the opportunity to peek inside one of the modules.
The lunar sample display program has been in existence since the days of the Apollo Program. Public display samples are provided for both short-term and long-term loans to museums, planetariums, expositions and professional events all around the world. JSC provides roughly 10 to 12 short-term loans a year, with three to six of those being international. There are currently 26 long-term international loans on display.
The lunar exhibit is considered a historic step forward in the field of science in Nepal. Vice Chancellor of the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology Dr. Surendra Raj Kafle said it was a matter of pride for the Nepalese to have such an exhibition. The Higher Secondary School’s Association of Nepal hopes that interest in science generated by the lunar rock display will persuade the Nepali government to allocate more funding for the scientific sector.
The lunar sample will be on loan in Nepal until the end of September.
Johnson Space Center
Students eager to learn about space descend on the Everest Science Center in Nepal. Image Credit: Everest Science Center, Nepal
Children take a break at the museum with a recreational boat ride. Image Credit: Everest Science Center, Nepal
Students swarm the exhibit to learn about former astronaut Neil Armstrong and the science gleaned from lunar sample studies. Image Credit: Everest Science Center, Nepal
Dr. Dilip Adhikari shows the protected lunar sample to visitors at the museum. Image Credit: Everest Science Center, Nepal