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Houston, Texas: Outdoor Viewing of the First Lunar Landing on a Giant Inflatable Screen
by Caleb Mitchell
Mark the 40th Anniversary of The Moon Landing with Events Around the Country
On July 20, the world celebrates the 40th anniversary of the moon landing and Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's "one small step for man." Although anniversary events are scheduled in several cities, here are some of the best ways to mark this historic event.
1. Leading the anniversary charge is NASA, which has scheduled a wide range of commemoration activities at NASA centers, including Space Center Houston; the Neil Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Wapakoneta , Ohio; the LBJ Library in Austin; and elsewhere leading up to and on the actual anniversary. The LBJ Library & Museum is presenting "To the Moon: The American Space Program in the 1960s," an exhibit celebrating man's venture into space. The space agency has established a Web site to help mark the occasion at www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/40th/index.html. The site includes a calendar listing anniversary events.
2. Mark the moment under a moonbow as part of an unusual commemoration at Cumberland Falls State Park in Kentucky also known as the Niagara of the South due to its 125-foot-wide waterfall. Moonbows, or lunar rainbows, appear on a clear night during a full moon, when light from the full moon refracts off the waterfall creating a prism of light in the mist. Cumberland Falls is the only waterfall in the United States where moonbows occur. For more information go to www.kentuckytourism.com.
3. On July 24, Space Center Houston will host a 40th anniversary "Splashdown" celebration at 6:30 p.m. The family affair will include a program with speakers from the Apollo era, a hot dog buffet, and entertainment. Many of the Space Center's attractions also will be open. Tickets are $11 and are on sale now. For more information go to www.spacecenter.org/apollo11anniversary.html.
4. Also in Houston, University of Houston-Clear Lake is hosting: "Fly Me to the Moon: A Community Celebration of the First Lunar Landing" on Saturday, July 18. The public is invited to relive the day when man first set foot on the moon. Enjoy a 1969 family-style picnic, an outdoor viewing of the first lunar landing on a giant inflatable screen, live entertainment, special NASA guests and speakers, interactive games, and space-related giveaways. For more information call the university at 281-283-2021.
5. If you happen to be in Florida, mark the occasion at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Thursday, July 16. Astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11; Charlie Duke, Apollo 16; Al Worden, Apollo 15; Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14; and Walt Cunningham, Apollo 7, will celebrate the anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, and mark the opening of a new exhibit at the Apollo/Saturn V Center, the Apollo Treasures Gallery. The new gallery showcases treasures from the Apollo moon missions. For more information go to www.kennedyspacecenter.com/Apollo-40th-Anniversary.aspx.
6. The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum boasts a long list of activities to mark the anniversary. Just one of them is "Countdown to the Moon Day" on Thursday, July 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free. Visitors are able to talk with scientists active in mission planning, touch a real piece of the moon, participate in hands-on activities, learn about lunar missions, and see images of the lunar surface in 3-D. For more information go to www.nasm.si.edu/events/apollo11.
By Shelley Emling