“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”
A quote so ubiquitous that you’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard it before, despite it having been uttered half a century ago.
20 July 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission; the mission that saw Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first humans to step on the moon. The political and cultural significance of the mission was far-reaching, not to mention it being an enormous scientific achievement. It propelled the US ahead of the Soviet Union in the Space Race, and according to some, effectively ended the decade-long technological battle between the two superpowers. The moon landing was broadcast on television around the world, with over 600 million people witnessing the monumental historic event.
From 16-20 July, the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of this remarkable mission with a range of free activities and events. One of the most exciting parts of the celebration is the exhibition of Neil Armstrong’s original Apollo 11 spacesuit, which will go back on display for the first time in 13 years.
Visitors to the museum will also be able to retrace the astronauts’ steps, visiting stations along a route approximately equivalent to the distances Armstrong and Aldrin walked. Scientists and historians will be on-hand to teach and answer questions.
The Space Centre in Houston, Texas is also, naturally, a great place to head for more space exploration artefacts. Here you can touch an actual moon rock, see a collection of spacesuits, see the Apollo 17 command module, visit the Historic Mission Control and more.
Closer to home, the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney is hosting a special Apollo 11 exhibition until January 2020. The exhibition includes over 200 objects, as well as virtual reality experience that allows visitors to watch the moon landing from the perspective of the third Apollo 11 astronaut, Michael Collins, who remained aboard the command module.