On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon.
It had been a mere eight years since President John F. Kennedy announced his goal to get a man to the moon. The landing captivated the world and was a culmination of the efforts of untold numbers of scientists, mathematicians, engineers, aviators and astronauts.
This summer marks the 50th anniversary of the historic moon landing with celebrations across the country, including NASA hotspots like Houston, Tex., the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., and of course, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum campuses in Washington, D.C. and Dulles, Va.
During a celebration on the National Mall July 18 to 20, visitors can interact one-on-one with museum scientists to learn about lunar exploration, research and missions. Over the course of the weekend, you can see high-resolution images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, view the moon in 3D, and “retrace” the astronauts’ steps from the lunar module, visiting stations along a route approximately equivalent to the distances the astronauts walked on the moon.
Here’s how to celebrate the anniversary with your family at official celebrations and at home.
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
By the Light of the Moon: A Century of Lunar Photographs: This exhibit opens on July 14, and will celebrate Apollo 11’s 50th anniversary with “a collection of lunar photographs made over the century preceding the Apollo 11 mission, as well as photographs taken by Armstrong and Aldrin during their lunar excursion.” nga.gov
Reaching for the Moon
If you read or watched “Hidden Figures,” you may already be familiar with Katherine Johnson. She’s an African-American mathematician who was integral in analyzing data and calculating the complex equations that would send astronauts to the moon.
Now, at 100 years old, she shares her story, from her days as a young girl exceptionally gifted in math to her work at NASA. Her journey was not an easy one; as a black woman in an era of brutal racism and sexism, Johnson faced daily challenges to establish herself as a member of the workforce in a competitive environment.
In the early 1950s, she joined the organization that would one day become NASA to work as a “computer,” analyzing data and calculating the complex equations needed for successful spaceflights.
While the book is aimed at young readers, it should appeal and inspire any book lover.
We’ll be giving away a few copies of “Reaching for the Moon;” keep an eye on our Facebook page for details!
Astronaut Lunar Landing Challenge
Join Challenge Island at your local library during July for a fun engineering challenge! During these STEAM events, your team will be tasked with engineering the perfect Lunar landing module using information from Apollo 11’s Eagle module as a guide.
These events are geared to Elementary school age students, and are happening at most Anne Arundel County library branches. Check the website for dates and times. Registration is required and will open two weeks before each event.
Treat your LEGO-loving kid with this Lunar Lander building set—a highly detailed model of Apollo 11’s Eagle lander, developed in coordination with NASA.
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing with the Smithsonian (share your fun using #Apollo50) during July at the following events:
FInd more info about all of the events and more out the Smithsonian’s Apollo Celebration page at airandspace.si.edu/apollo50
Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit goes on display
An outdoor celebration of the Apollo program on the National Mall
Discover the Moon Day at the Museum in D.C., will feature hands-on activities, and you can learn about lunar science of the past and present and walk the path the Apollo 11 astronauts did on the Moon.
A late-night Apollo 11 event featuring scavenger hunts, trivia, talks, and a celebration at 10:56 p.m.—the moment Neil Armstrong first set foot on the Moon!
Plus in Annapolis…
Watch: The Day We Walked on The Moon
When & Where:
Saturday, July 20, 2019
The Colonial Players of Annapolis, 108 East Street, Annapolis
Cost: Free, Reservations Required and can be made at www.annapolis.org or 410-267-7619
Keep an eye on our Daily Calendar of Events for more Apollo 11 events near you!