Owensboro Museum of Science and History to celebrate moon landing

Kathy Olson, Chief Executive Officer, Owensboro Museum of Science and History.

On July 20, 1969 mankind made its giant leap into the interstellar sphere as astronaut Neil Armstrong took his "small step," out of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module (Eagle) and became the first man to walk on the surface of the moon.

It has almost been 50 years since Armstrong, Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin and Michael Collins' trip to the moon. On July 20, to honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, the Owensboro Museum of Science and History will be hosting To the Moon and Beyond, a family-centric National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) space event commemorating the historic walk, Kathy Olson, the museum's chief executive officer, said.

"I know people will love it because it is very accessible for all ages," Olson said. "Adults will be able to learn new things about space or relearn what they may have forgotten and children will have something to take home with them. It is for everyone."

Beginning at 10 a.m. and running until 2 p.m., the Atmos Energy-sponsored event will have 11 NASA and National Informal STEM Education (NISE) hands-on space activity stations, face painting, space characters, photo stations, a moon-food lunch (at an additional cost), and an earth rock dig where participants can dig for rocks and fossils and take home what they find..

"The hands-on activities demonstrate different concepts that astronauts and physicists study to aid in space missions," she said. "An example of one activity is that everyone will be making a meter that reacts to static electricity. Static builds up quickly in space and one of the things that scientists working on materials or spacecraft have to control is static electricity. Patrons will also have the opportunity to replicate experiments that an astronaut or a rover may use to measure thermal heat or measure different elements that they are investigating. It is all about duplicating experiments or phenomena that happen in space."

The space inspired fundraiser costs $3 for museum members, $5 for nonmembers and those 2 years of age or younger get in free. For more information about the event go to the museum's website: www.owensboromuseum.org.

The Apollo program, also known as Project Apollo, was the third human spaceflight program carried out by NASA and consisted of nine missions, six of which landed astronauts safely on the moon's surface. It lasted from 1961 to 1972 with manned missions to the moon taking place from 1969 to 1972.

Apollo 11 was the first successful landing on the moon and was followed by Apollo 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17. All but the crew of the ill-fated Apollo 13 landed safely on the moon's surface. The Apollo missions consisted of a command module (CM) and a lunar module (LM). The CM and LM would separate after lunar orbit insertion. One crew member would stay in the CM, which would orbit the Moon, while the other two astronauts would take the LM down to the lunar surface. After exploring the surface, setting up experiments, taking pictures, collecting rock samples and more, the astronauts would return to the CM for the journey back to earth.

Jacob Mulliken, 270-228-2837, jmulliken@messenger-inquirer.com

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