Borrow the Moon


Security rules when borrowing the lunar samples

The lunar samples are the property of the US government and are irreplaceable. STFC owns the meteorites and other samples.

The security of all the samples, in transit and during the period of the loan, must follow the requirements laid down by NASA and will need to be agreed following a visit to the site by the STFC administrator of the loan scheme.

During the visit, any questions the borrower may have can be answered and specific loan requirements discussed. The loan is subject to inspection by a STFC or NASA official at any time.

Each organisation must nominate one person (‘authorised official’) to take responsibility for the loan, with a second person (‘co-official’) to act in the case of an emergency.

The authorised official is responsible for the receipt, use (including security during use), accountability, and return of the samples at the end of the designated time.

Only the authorised official may receive and open the package, although the co-official should be available in case of emergency.

When opening the lunar loan case for the first time, and when repacking the case for collection at the end of the loan, the official must:

  • complete the case inventory to ensure all contents are enclosed
  • report any discrepancies immediately to the lunar loan coordinator by phone: 07935 014730

Under no circumstances should the samples be moved in any container other than the carrying case provided.

During use for instructional purposes, the samples must be under the continuous surveillance of the authorised official. At no time may the samples be left unattended. Borrowers are requested to complete the log sheet provided to record the transfer to and from the secure storage. The log sheet should be returned to STFC at the end of the loan period.

The samples should be handled with extreme care at all times. Every effort should be made to prevent the encapsulated discs from being scratched or otherwise damaged. Extreme care must be taken not to break the thin sections when viewed under a microscope, as this could risk the continuation of the scheme.

When not in use, the samples must be locked in a safe or secure storage cabinet equipped with a combination padlock. Only the authorised official, and if necessary the co-official, should have knowledge of the combination to the secure storage locks. No other items of high theft value (for example, money, jewellery, precious stones or minerals, classified material) may be stored in the safe with the samples.

The institution’s security organisation must be informed of the presence and location of the samples. It is desirable that the security patrol periodically check the storage container outside normal working hours.

No admission charge may be made to view the lunar samples. If the organisation has an established general admission charge, no additional charge may be made to view the lunar samples.

The lunar loan coordinator will make a provisional booking, and a visit to inspect your security arrangements will then be arranged. If the security arrangements meet the required standard the borrower will be required to complete the necessary contract document. You are welcome to ask questions about the loan at any time.

Ask a question about security

If you are unsure about your security, please contact the lunar samples loan coordinator.



Delivery and collection of the samples is by courier and will be arranged by STFC.

The authorised official is responsible for ensuring that the samples are correctly packed and clearly labelled for return either to STFC or to the next borrower and must be ready for collection by 9:00am on the agreed date.

The authorised official must telephone STFC on 07935 014730 to confirm that the package has been despatched.

Risk assessment

You will also need to complete a risk assessment.

Last updated: 1 August 2023

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