A monumental feat was accomplished 50 years ago.
Saturday marks the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 and American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landing on the moon. Armstrong then became the first person to walk on the moon.
A number of events are scheduled in the area to celebrate the anniversary and educate people of all ages about past, present and future space travel.
Following is a sample of area events:
Strategic Air Command and Aerospace MuseumRetired astronaut Clayton Anderson will take the stage at 9 a.m. at the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum near Ashland for a presentation about the future of space flight.
Anderson will then invite guests into a new exhibit titled, “Space: Humanity’s Longest Journey.” The exhibit, which will be on display through Sept. 15, includes art and artifacts themed from a time when humans’ curiosity with the skies led to the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union.
The exhibit includes artifacts on loan from the National Museum of the United States Air Force, the Cosmosphere, artist Chelsey Bonestell, and U.S. Space and Rocket Center. Featured items include official photos of the Apollo 11 moon landing; science fiction art by Bonestell; Soviet Union space propaganda posters, along with Mercury, Gemini and Apollo program artifacts; and everyday items representing the space race-inspired design.
The aerospace museum also will offer family activities after Anderson’s presentation. Visitors will be able to experience Apollo 11 moon landing through a virtual reality game, make and keep a planet, take a picture with an inflatable astronaut, view space art, and watch a free planetarium show and the Apollo 11 launch video.
“What we’re hoping this does is offer opportunity for a generational conversation,” Brian York, curator of exhibits and collections, told the Lincoln Journal Star. “It’s getting parents and grandparents to be able to talk to their children and grandchildren about where they were during the moon landing.”
The events and exhibit are included in the cost of general admission: $12 for adults, $11 for military and seniors, $6 for children ages 4-12, and free for children 3 and under.
Morrill HallThe University of Nebraska State Museum will offer “Mission Moon at Morrill” from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in Lincoln.
Visitors will have the opportunity to investigate how the moon moves; use Galileoscopes to study far-away objects like an astronomer; explore the immersive NASA’s Eyes app to learn how the Earth is studied from space; visualize the solar system; explore moon phases; learn about meteorites and craters; and step on the space scale to see what they weigh on the moon. Mueller Planetarium coordinator Zach Thompson will answer astronomy questions.
The museum also will screen the Smithsonian Channel’s “The Day We Walked on the Moon,” a documentary marking the 50th anniversary of humanity’s first steps on the moon with interviews from the key figures in mission control, contemporary astronauts and the families of Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong.
Showtimes are 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. The screening is free for museum visitors.
Mueller Planetarium also will screen a variety of space shows during the event. The schedule is: “One World, One Sky,” 10 a.m.; “Max Goes to the Moon,” 11 a.m.; “Dawn of the Space Age,” 1 p.m.; “Earth, Moon and Sun,” 2 p.m.
Regular museum and planetarium admission will be charged.
History MuseumThe Nebraska History Museum will Lincoln will host a celebration from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday.
There will be a moon rock scavenger hunt, solar viewing with the Prairie Astronomy Club, drop-in STEM tinkering activities, a presentation on how to better connect with NASA, 1960s trivia, and book recommendations for those looking to learn more about space.
Admission is free.
Omaha Children’s MuseumThe Omaha Children’s Museum has been celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing all week.
The moon landing celebration continues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Saturday. Visitors are invited to explore rockets, investigate craters, create new means of transportation on the moon, and other activities.
Admission to the museum is $13 for kids and adults, $12 for seniors, and free for children under 2.