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Events, exhibits mark 40 years since man walked on moon

Sunday, July 19, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT
In this July 20, 1969 file photo, a footprint left by one of the astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission shows in the soft, powder surface of the moon.

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon. Forty years later, a variety of museums, space centers and other institutions are marking the anniversary with events, exhibits, concerts and lectures.

Here are a few details on some of the bigger activities and venues. Check with your local science museum for other events and exhibits about space exploration. NASA also has a link to anniversary events from its Web site at nasa.gov (look for "Apollo 40th Anniversary" on the lower left side of the home page).

AMES RESEARCH CENTER, MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, NEAR SUNNYVALE, CALIF.

July 19, "Moonfest," noon to 6 p.m., featuring scientific talks, rocket launches, kids' activities and music. Free and open to the public. Details at moonfest.arc.nasa.gov.

ARMSTRONG AIR & SPACE MUSEUM, WAPAKONETA, OHIO

July 16-18, "Summer Moon Festival" (Thursday, 4 to 11 p.m.; Friday, 1 p.m. to midnight; Saturday, 7 a.m. to midnight), including rides, games and entertainment, a giant MoonPie and other activities. For details, go to summermoonfestival.com.

July 20, noon to 5 p.m., museum open for 40th anniversary celebration, with $4 admission.

For information about visiting this museum in astronaut Neil Armstrong's hometown at other times, go to ohsweb.ohiohistory.org/places/nw01.

JOHNSON SPACE CENTER, HOUSTON

July 18, 6 to 9 p.m., "Fly Me to the Moon" picnic, games, activities, stargazing and talks, at University of Houston-Clear Lake's Alumni Plaza and Liberty Park. Free, open to the public.

July 20, 4 to 9 p.m., 40th anniversary event at Discovery Green, the downtown Houston park, with NASA's "Driven To Explore" mobile exhibit, which includes a moon rock you can touch. Free, open to the public.

July 24, 6:30 to 10 p.m., 40th anniversary "Splashdown Celebration," at Space Center Houston, which is the Johnson Space Center's official visitors center; family event with Apollo-era speakers, MoonPies, hot dogs and music, $11 (free for ages 4 and under).

For details on other Johnson Space Center events, including some that require tickets, go to nasa.gov/centers/johnson/events/apollo40.html.

For details on Space Center Houston exhibits and the NASA Tram Tour, go to spacecenter.org. Regular admission to the Space Center is $20 (ages 4 to 11, $16).

KENNEDY CENTER FOR PERFORMING ARTS, WASHINGTON

July 18, 8 p.m., "Salute to Apollo: The Kennedy Legacy" concert with National Symphony Orchestra, Chaka Kahn, Denyse Graves and others, including Buzz Aldrin as a narrator. Free and open to the public for the first 1,400 guests. For details, go to kennedycenter.com.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, NEAR COCOA BEACH, FLA.

July 16, 11:00 a.m., Buzz Aldrin and other astronauts will share stories from underneath a 363-foot-long Saturn V rocket at the Apollo/Saturn V Center. To attend, you must arrive at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex by 10 a.m. and purchase regular admission.

July 16, 12:15 p.m., opening of Apollo Treasures Gallery at the Apollo/Saturn V Center, showcasing artifacts from the Apollo moon missions including space suits, a space suit repair kit and a cuff check list on how to deploy a flag on the moon, along with personal items from astronauts such as Alan Shepard's Corvette.

July 16, 3 to 4:30 p.m., book-signing in Astronaut Encounter Theater by astronaut Buzz Aldrin, author of "Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home From the Moon."

July 20, 2 p.m., a 55-pound chocolate-and-marshmallow MoonPie will be unveiled for public consumption.

Other activities at the Kennedy Space Center, where Apollo 11 was launched on July 16, 1969, include the "NASA Up Close" tour of space program facilities and artifacts. Admission to the visitor complex is $38 plus tax for adults, $28 plus tax for ages 3 to 11. For details, go to KennedySpaceCenter.com.

MUSEUM OF FLIGHT, SEATTLE

July 11-12 and July 18-19, 11:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m., "Apollo Program: Splashdown!" for families.

July 18-25, 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. (July 19, 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.), "Tip-to-Tail Tours: Apollo Artifacts," tour of Apollo artifacts including Apollo command module and lunar rover.

July 23-25, 10 to 5 p.m., NASA "Vision for Space Exploration" Mobile Exhibit, offering a simulated space journey with interactive and hands-on activities; Museum Airpark Parking Lot.

Through July 31: Exhibit of astronaut John Young's Apollo 10 spacesuit.

Through Sept. 12: Exhibit of Apollo 11 artwork by artist Paul Calle, who was hired by NASA to document the space program. Calle and his son will be at the museum for a lecture, at 2 p.m. on Aug. 29.

For details on these and other exhibits, go to museumofflight.org. The museum is open daily; admission $14 ($7.50 for ages 5 to 17).

SMITHSONIAN NATIONAL AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM, WASHINGTON

July 16, 10 a.m., opening of exhibit "Alan Bean: Painting Apollo, First Artist on Another World," paintings by Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean. Open through Jan. 13.

July 16, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., "Countdown to the Moon" family day, with educational activities led by the museum's space history curators and planetary scientists working on current NASA projects.

July 19, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., book-signings with three astronauts: Buzz Aldrin, author of "Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon"; Alan Bean, author of "Painting Apollo"; and Michael Collins, author of the 40th anniversary edition of "Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys."

The museum's collection includes the Apollo 11 Command Module in its Milestones of Flight gallery and Buzz Aldrin's space suit in the Apollo to the Moon gallery. Admission to the museum is free. For details on other events at the museum, visit nasm.si.edu/events/apollo11/apollo11events.cfm.

U.S. SPACE & ROCKET CENTER AND DAVIDSON CENTER FOR SPACE EXPLORATION, HUNTSVILLE, ALA.

July 20: "First Footprint Celebration," 1 to 5 p.m., with NASA-sponsored exhibit of space program artifacts. Event is open to the public with space center admission ($25 or $19 for children, free for ages 6 and under). Crowds are expected for the July 20 event. The Davidson Center is open daily, with permanent exhibits including the Saturn V rocket and other space program artifacts. For more details, go to spacecamp.com.


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