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Space

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Mon, April 5 2010

Spacesuit in need of repair

One of the things that makes being an educator here great is our teaching collection. I’m lucky, I work with a curatorial and collections staff that considers our needs as educators and provides the public with deaccessioned items they can touch and examine up close.   Our teaching collection currently contains real space food, shuttle tiles, bits of airplanes, meteorites, uniforms and other assorted items.  However, not all the items are real; our most popular replica is the shuttle era space suit.  The suit has been part of the Discovery Station Program for over ten years.  It was purchased with a grant from the Smithsonian Women’s Committee and is part of the Living and Working in Space Discovery Station, our most popular station, largely because of the suit.  The station gets an average of 40,000 visitors yearly, but that’s only a portion of the crowds the suit sees.  It has also become a key object used for family days, story times and school tours.

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Mock Space Shuttle Suit
Thu, April 1 2010

Why Do People Persist in Denying the Moon Landings?

In the summer of 2009 the United States celebrated the fortieth anniversary of the first Moon landing, Apollo 11. Amidst all of the hoopla virtually every news story, especially in the electronic world, made some comment about a supposedly rising belief that humans have never landed on the Moon.  Why?

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Apollo 11: Buzz Aldrin and the U.S. flag on the Moon
Wed, March 24 2010

Barbara Marx Hubbard and the Origins of the Pro-Space Movement in the 1970s

The formal beginnings of the modern "pro-space movement"—really an extension of the ad hoc efforts to gain and sustain public support for an aggressive spaceflight agenda earlier led by Wernher von Braun and others—might be best traced to the June 1970 formation of the Committee for the Future (CFF), a small group of space activists, dreamers, and misfits. Meeting in the home of Barbara Marx Hubbard, daughter of the toy king, and her husband, artist-philosopher Earl Hubbard, in Lakeville, Connecticut, they proposed establishing a lunar colony.

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Barbara Marx Hubbard
Fri, March 19 2010

Trajectories of Space Flight

The rich collections of space artifacts at the National Air and Space Museum provide a remarkable resource for scholars who wish to understand the special place that deep space exploration has held in the imagination of not just Americans but people around the world. 

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SpaceShipOne
Thu, February 11 2010

Shuttle-Era Shopping Spree

Being snowbound at home for a long weekend presented a perfect opportunity to go shopping online – for Space Shuttle artifacts!

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Space shuttle Discovery approaches International Space Station. 
Wed, December 23 2009

The Whole Earth Disk: An Iconic Image of the Space Age

Who has not seen the bright blue and white image of the Earth, swaddled in clouds and looking inviting, in numerous places and in various settings? Taken by the Apollo 17 astronauts on December 7, 1972, this photograph is one of the most widely distributed images in existence.

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Earthrise from Apollo 8
Tue, November 3 2009

Another First for The Museum – Virtual Conferences

The National Air and Space Museum is holding its first ever virtual conference for educators on Tuesday, November 10 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST.   Since we’re in the middle of the 40th anniversary commemorations of the Apollo missions, we decided to focus on this important period in American history.  Staff from our Division of Space History will discuss some fascinating topics such as the real story behind President Kennedy’s famous speech challenging Congress to send Americans to the Moon;  the role of computers—a new technology in the 1960s; the myth of presidential leadership during this time period; the intersections of Ralph Abernathy, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Moon landing; the rise of six iconic Apollo images and how they have been used over time; and the denials of the Moon landings by a small segment of the population and their evolution since the 1960s. 

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Apollo 16, Astronaut John Young
Wed, July 15 2009

Apollo 11 and the World

When the Apollo 11 spacecraft lifted off on July 16, 1969, for the Moon, it signaled a climactic instance in human history. Reaching the Moon on July 20, its Lunar Module—with astronauts Neil A. Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin aboard—landed on the lunar surface while Michael Collins orbited overhead in the Apollo 11 command module. Armstrong soon set foot on the surface, telling millions on Earth that it was “one small step for [a] man—one giant leap for mankind.” Aldrin soon followed him out and the two planted an American flag but omitted claiming the land for the U.S. as had been routinely done during European exploration of the Americas, collected soil and rock samples, and set up scientific experiments. The next day they returned to the Apollo capsule overhead and returned to Earth, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean on July 24.

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Apollo 11: Buzz Aldrin on the Moon
Tue, July 14 2009

Countdown to the Moon, Thursday, July 16

Regular summer visitors to the National Air and Space Museum are familiar with the Museum’s popular event, Mars Day. This year, Mars is taking a backseat to allow us to honor the 40th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing with Countdown to the Moon Day.  

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Alan Bean
Mon, July 13 2009

My Three Days on the Moon

What will the astronauts who return to the Moon with NASA’s Constellation program drive? I had a chance to find out last October as a member of NASA's Desert Research and Technology Studies (Desert RATS) during the field test of the Lunar Electric Rover (LER) at Black Point lava flow in Arizona.

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Lunar Electric Rover (LER) Unpressurized Rover (UPR) Configuration

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