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Public Can View Rare Apollo Mission Lunar Samples Friday at MTSU

MTSU faculty member Dr. Irina Perevalova acknowledges that it is not only one of the coolest guests she has ever brought to a physics and astronomy Star Party, but also one of the rarest.

On display starting at 5 p.m. Friday, April 19, in Wiser-Patten Science Hall will be lunar samples from Apollo missions 14-17, said Perevalova, who helped land the lunar and meteorite samples at the university.

The public is invited to view the display, which is both part of Alumni Weekend and MTSU Star Party activities. A printable campus map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTParkingMap12-13.

The lunar and meteorite samples, which arrived April 17, will be housed at MTSU through May 3. They are on loan from NASA. While at MTSU, they will be maintained in a secure area by MTSU Public Safety officials.

“What’s important to us is that they are from the moon,” Perevalova said. “They belong to the people of the United States. The moon samples are absolutely unique. They’re a national treasure.”

The Russian-born Perevalova said she believes this may be one of the first times lunar samples have come to Tennessee. In saying that, she encourages parents to bring their school-age children to view the historic samples.

Perevalova said only two nations, Russia and the United States, possess lunar samples. She noted that Russia’s came from a machine and U.S. astronauts collected the moon samples.

The third-year faculty member said she had to attend training at Georgia Southern University and be certified by NASA before they would allow MTSU the opportunity to host the exhibit.

Perevalova said one local school has called to see if she could bring the exhibit and she said she hopes to visit others. She can be reached at 615-898-2522 or by email at Irina.Perevalova@mtsu.edu.