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Back to the Moon! NASA Scientist Noah Petro to Talk April 30 about Apollo at 50 and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

This post was authored by Stephanie Marcus, Science Reference Librarian in the Science, Technology, and Business Division.

50 years ago on July 20, 1969, around 530 million of us watched in amazement as first Neil Armstrong and then Buzz Aldrin left the lunar module Eagle and stepped out on the surface of the moon.  Michael Collins stayed behind in the orbiting command module, waiting to reunite with them. Armstrong died in 2012, but Collins, 88, and Aldrin, 89, are still with us.  Buzz Aldrin will be hosting celebratory events this July and many other events are planned across the country.  NASA has a list of many of the special events at https://www.nasa.gov/specials/apollo50th/events.html.  Others are listed by Aerospace America at:  https://aerospaceamerica.aiaa.org/apollo-11s-50th-anniversary/.  Neil Armstrong’s newly conserved Apollo 11 spacesuit will go back on display at the National Air and Space Museum for the first time in 13 years and the Space Museum will also host a celebration on the National Mall July 16-20.

There have been many movies about the mission, but there is a new documentary, Apollo 11, which premiered at Sundance in January to rave reviews.  Filmmaker Todd Miller worked with Daniel Rooney from the National Archives, who had discovered 177 reels of unprocessed footage from the mission, and with Canadian researcher Ben Feist, who provided 11,000 hours of digitized audio whose quality he had improved. Feist will release the audio to the public before the anniversary on the website apolloinrealtime.org.

The Science, Technology and Business Division is excited to have Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) project scientist Noah Petro return to talk about Apollo 11 and new interpretations of lunar samples from the Apollo missions made with data from the LRO. Petro has Apollo in his DNA, as his father was one of the engineers who created the backpacks worn by the Apollo astronauts. In 2016 he presented “Walking with the Last Men on the Moon: Revisiting the Apollo 17 Landing Site with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.”   The LRO is a multipurpose NASA spacecraft launched in 2009 to make a comprehensive atlas of the Moon’s features and resources. Since launch, LRO has measured the coldest temperatures in the solar system inside the Moon’s permanently shadowed craters, detected evidence of water ice at the Moon’s south pole, seen hints of recent geologic activity on the Moon, found newly-formed craters from present-day meteorite impacts, tested space-borne laser communication technology, and much more.

Date:  Tuesday, April 30

Time:  11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

PlaceThe Pickford Theater, 3rd floor Madison building

For inquiries about this program, contact Stephanie Marcus in the Science, Technology & Business Division at [email protected] or the division office at: (202) 707-1212. Individuals requiring accommodations for this event are requested to submit a request at least five business days in advance by contacting (202) 707-6362 or [email protected].

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