On the last Friday of each month the Natural History Museum hosts its ‘Lates’ event. These events run from 18:00 until 22:00 and not only allow you to explore the museum in the evening with a glass of wine or a bottle of beer but have events on with a particular theme. This month the Blue Planet II team were on hand to give talks and run ‘science stations’ where they explored some of the aspects of the series in more detail.
Unsurprisingly, it was busy.
The science stations proved popular as did the talks which were booked out all evening.
But in a building the size of the Natural History Museum it was easy enough to find quieter spots to escape the crowds and wander the exhibits with a nice bottle of beer.
The building really is stunning at night and there’s something special about exploring the exhibits after dark – while still busy everyone is happily meandering about creating a very pleasant atmosphere.
A new exhibit for me was the minerals exhibit and the Vault. These rooms are jam-packed with more samples of rocks, minerals and crystals than I knew existed and, after working your way past the massive collection, you find the Vault. The appropriately named Vault contains the rarest and most prized items in the collection and held within were samples of beautiful crystals, huge cut gems and something I certainly wasn’t expecting..
Now I was excited about the moon rock in the Science Museum but the Natural History Museum have a chunk of rock that originated on Mars! (I know it didn’t actually start life on Mars but it spent quite a long time as part of the surface which will do for me)
So how did a rock from the surface of Mars end up on display in London?
This rock fell to Earth as a meteorite on 18th July 2011. So the question then is what was a fragment of the Martian surface doing in space? The answer to this is actually another meteorite – this time striking Mars. The gravitational pull of Mars is around 1/3rd that of Earth so it’s easier for fragments of rock to be launched into space – still, the initial meteorite would have to be a damned sight bigger than the 1.1kg specimen above to cause an impact large enough to eject material from the surface of Mars in to space!
Could you tell I photographed the information panel this time?
Having wandered the halls and visited the science stations, and seeing as it was gone 21:00 already, it was time to head home. I think this may be the first of many ‘Lates’ I attend with the second hopefully being next weeks ‘Late’ at the Science Museum on Wednesday.
See you on Wednesday!