Millions of people across the globe watched as two men set foot on another world for the first time July 20, 1969.
The National Air and Space Museum is commemorating this defining moment in space exploration with several 40th anniversary-related programs including astronaut appearances, book signings, the opening of an art exhibit and gallery talks by the museum's Space History curators. All events are free and take place in the National Mall building, so if you're planning a trip to Washington, D.C., next month, you might want to check them out.
- "Ask an Expert" Talks
Every Wednesday in July at noon museum curators will discuss a topic related to the Apollo 11 Moon landing. Talks last 15-30 minutes and offer visitors an opportunity for give-and-take with space exploration experts. Topics include: July 1 "Apollo and the So-Called Moon-Landing Hoax" by Roger Launius (Space History Division); July 8 "Home Away from Earth: The Lunar Module" by Bob Craddock (Center for Earth and Planetary Studies); July 15 "Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia" by Allan Needell (Space History Division) and July 22 "Von Braun's Giant: The Saturn V" by Michael Neufeld (Space History Division).
- "Countdown to the Moon!" Family Day
Thursday, July 16; 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Visitors will interact one-on-one with scientists active in Moon research and mission planning, participate in hands-on activities; learn about lunar geology and meet museum geologists who are working on potential landing sites for human and robotic exploration; see 3-D and HD images of the Moon's surface; and learn about lunar missions past, present, and future. The activities are designed for different age groups.
- Exhibit Opening: "Alan Bean: Painting Apollo, First Artist on Another World"
Thursday, July 16; 10 a.m.
This will be the largest exhibition of paintings by American artist and Apollo 12 astronaut, Alan Bean, approximately 40 original paintings and drawings will be featured. The show will enable viewers to experience a world 238,000 miles away through the eyes of the only artist to walk on the lunar surface. Artifacts from the museum's collection will supplement the exhibit as 3-D references to the lunar equipment depicted in the paintings. Alan Bean will be signing his new book in the gallery from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Press preview July 15.)
- Meet the Filmmaker and DVD Signing: "Alan Bean: Artist Astronaut" documentary by Jeffrey Roth
Saturday, July 18, and Sun., July 19; 4 - 5:30 p.m.
Jeffrey Roth will sign copies of his documentary about Alan Bean. The film explores why Bean left NASA to make his Apollo-inspired artwork, using footage shot inside Bean's workshop and photos of the Apollo-era tools he uses to add texture to his paintings.
- Meet the Author and Book Signing: "Spacesuits: The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Collection" by Amanda Young and Mark Avino
Saturday, July 18, noon - 2 p.m.
Highlighting the pressure suits created during the years leading up to the lunar missions and beyond, this book features dramatic photos of the Smithsonian's collection, as well as never-before-published historical images of spacesuit development and testing.
- Meet the Author and Book Signing: Apollo astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, and Michael Collins
Sunday, July 19, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
"Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon" by Apollo 11 Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, "Painting Apollo" by Apollo 12 Astronaut Alan Bean, 40th Anniversary Edition of "Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys" by Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins.
- Annual John H. Glenn Lecture "40th Anniversary of
Sunday, July 19, 8 pm
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11's first human landing on the Moon, the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum welcomes the Apollo 11 crew, as well as Mission Control creator and former Johnson Space Center director Chris Kraft as the speakers for the Museum's 2009 John H. Glenn lecture in space history. Forty years ago, the United States sent the first human beings to land on the surface of the Moon. Apollo 11 was the culmination of years of research, engineering and hard work by the crew as well as by thousands of people on the ground.
- Flights of Fancy — Stories for Children: "Moon Plane" by Peter McCarty
Every Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
"Moon Plane" is the story of a young boy who sees an airplane overhead and imagines himself in it, traveling all the way to the Moon. Recommended for children ages 3-7. An art activity follows the story.
Visitors to the National Air and Space Museum's National Mall building can see the Command Module, "Columbia," the Lunar Module and the "Apollo to the Moon" gallery; there are additional Apollo program artifacts — including the Flotation Collar and Mobile Quarantine Facility — at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.
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