The Apollo 11 Mission Celebrates 50 Years

The Apollo 11 Mission Celebrates 50 Years

One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
— Neil Armstrong

Today is not just any ol’ Tuesday. Today is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, the first time ever that man walked on the moon. The significance of this event was – and still is – HUGE. It collectively blew our minds and set off a tidal wave of excitement for space exploration. It fundamentally changed the way we understood our solar system.

 Fifty years later, there is still so much to learn about the Apollo 11 mission. Obviously, I wasn’t born when it happened, but I grew up in what I remember as a space-obsessed generation. (Unfortunately, I also have a flashbulb memory of the tragic Challenger explosion, which happened when I was just five years old.) It’s hard to deny the wonder and awe that comes with space exploration – the vast universe in all its danger and majesty, and all the heroes that dedicate and risk their lives to learning more. Undoubtedly, the Apollo 11 mission is one of the proudest, most awe-inspiring American feats to have taken place in recent history. 

I think we could all use a little shot of patriotism right now, so in honor of the brave men and women who have gone before, maybe you can take a little time to pay homage to the Apollo 11 mission this week at some local venues.

The Adventure Science Center has a special program, Many Inspired Steps, which celebrates the moon landing. There are a variety of activities all week, and on Saturday there will be an actual piece of moon rock available for viewing. Also on Saturday, the Tennessee State Museum will have Space Day from 10am – 4 pm, with special space-themed programming and family activities, as well as fragments of moon rock on display. The Belcourt is airing Apollo 11, a film compiled by previously unseen footage and unheard recordings from the mission crafted together to allow the viewer to relive the monumental event. And The Discovery Center at Murfree Spring in Murfreesboro is celebrating this weekend with an inflatable planetarium, space-themed experiments, and stomp rocket design and testing.  

Now, if you want to stay home and hide in the AC instead, watch the 2018 movie “Biopic Man” with Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong, or check out PBS for its Summer of Space campaign and catch “8 Days: To the Moon and Back” for a combination of archival footage and computer graphics to reenact the moon landing. Or, if you’re like me and love a good podcast, check out NASA’s podcast series, Houston We Have a Podcast and check out the 100th episode, Apollo 11 to Now. 

Surely at least one of these will strike your fancy and reignite the childlike wonder that comes from space exploration!

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