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Apollo to Artemis Flagstaff established itself in the annals of history through its contributions to the Apollo missions, but these accomplishments are not just part of the past. Scientists continue to train here in preparation for future visits to the moon and beyond.


People Neil Armstrong may have been the one to carry humankind into the next phase of space exploration, but there were many others who worked largely behind the scenes to help make his first step on the moon possible. Scientists like Ivo Lucchitta and Eugene Shoemaker educated astronauts on the geological processes they might encounter on the moon, while other specialists like Pat Bridges and Jerry Schaber contributed their skills to map the moon, ensuring the astronauts would know exactly where they were when they touched down.


Flagstaff Lunar Legacy From 1961 when the Aeronautical Chart and Information Center established an office at Lowell Observatory to map the moon to 1972 when astronaut-geologist Jack Schmitt took the most recent steps on the moon, Flagstaff saw it all. Travel through the years to learn how the city helped prepare Apollo astronauts ahead of each trip to the moon.


Places Northern Arizona contains a very unique range of geological features. From volcanic craters to those manmade, Flagstaff was the perfect place to train the astronauts who would go on to set foot on the moon. Many of these features were thought to be similar to those they would encounter roughly 238,900 miles away from home. Then there are the organizations like Lowell Observatory and the United States Geological Survey that established research facilities to drive important discoveries in our quest to explore the universe. 2


1969-2019 Every astronaut who walked on the Moon trained in Flagstaff.

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the First Moon Landing on July 20th with special Lunar Legacy events. Visit for a complete calendar of events, vintage astronaut training videos, photos, and Flagstaff’s own Apollo mission milestones.

FREE Flagstaff’s Lunar Landmarks Trail Map & Passport Available for FREE at the Flagstaff Visitor Center, One E. Route 66.

THANK YOU to the numerous Flagstaff scientists, astronomers, engineers, artists and support staff

whose contributions to the Apollo Program helped to make the first Moon landing a success. Additional thanks to the planetary explorers who continue to work in space exploration in Flagstaff.

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, 1964 (USGS)



APOLLO TO ARTEMIS Flagstaff’s lunar legacy lives on

On July 20, 1969, some 600 million people around the world paused to look to the skies as Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. Armstrong’s giant leap for mankind represents a defining moment for our species and stands as one of those singular moments in life—like the JFK assassination, Challenger explosion and 9/11 attacks—when people remember exactly where they were at the time. Only, in this case, the episode was one of triumph rather than tragedy. 



The path that Armstrong and his colleagues, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, took to the moon on that Apollo 11 mission blazed right through Flagstaff. In fact, this community played a crucial role in preparing for the lunar missions. Every astronaut who walked on the moon trained here. Flagstaff engineers and scientists carried out this training, teaching geological principles as well as designing and testing moonbound instruments and equipment such as the rovers used by the last three missions to explore the moon.    

Cartographers Patricia Bridges, Ray Batson, Ray Jordan and Jay Inge also played a key role, working at the United States Geological Survey and Lowell Observatory to prepare detailed lunar charts used for determining landing sites and other critical data. This lunar legacy is spread across the northland, forming a “Lunar Trail” that can be followed today, allowing Flagstaff residents and visitors to follow in the footsteps of the so-called “Next Nine,” NASA’s second class of astronauts in 1963.   This was an impressive

group of men; commanders of six of the nine manned missions that eventually flew to the moon, including Armstrong and Jim Lovell, came from this class. The first visit to Flagstaff was sort of a test to evaluate the benefits of training in Flagstaff. The astronauts first visited Meteor Crater, exploring a feature similar to what they expected to find on the moon. They then went to Sunset Crater to study volcanic features. Later, they headed up Mars Hill to Lowell Observatory, where they visited with cartographers to see how lunar features are depicted on

maps. After this, the astronauts broke up into three groups to view the moon through telescopes, with some staying at Lowell and the others going to Northern Arizona University and the U.S. Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station (NOFS).   The visit proved successful, and NASA realized Flagstaff was an excellent place for geology training. It wasn’t the only place—astronauts also went to Hawaii, Oregon, New Mexico, Iceland, Mexico and other locations to train—but Flagstaff was one of the best.    With this success, NASA 5

sent other classes of Apollo astronauts to Flagstaff. Geologists such as Gordon Swann, Gerald “Jerry” Schaber, Ivo Lucchitta, Lee Silver and Dale Jackson helped lead these training efforts. They took the astronauts not only to Meteor Crater and Sunset Crater but also visited other areas in the San Francisco volcanic field such as Merriam Crater. They hiked into the Grand Canyon and visited other volcanic landscapes, such as Hopi Buttes on the Navajo Reservation northeast of Flagstaff. Geologists organized these trips as much to inspire the astronauts as to teach them actual geological principles and techniques. The natural features served as excellent analogs to what the astronauts could expect to find on the lunar surface.   “One of my greatest memories of Apollo 11 was not only the surreal nature of when they landed, which was like an outof-body experience, but what I was able to do for [first astrogeologist] Gene [Shoemaker],” Schaber said. “That made me so happy.”  Shoemaker ’s introduction of the  brand new  field of astrogeology effectively brought the cosmos a little closer to home.   Many of these people and locations that contributed to humankind’s first steps on the moon are explored in the pages of this magazine, providing us with an overview of the dedication and collaboration it took to get there, but our lunar legacy isn’t just a significant achievement frozen in Flagstaff’s history. Scientists are actively continuing to train here as they prepare for further travel beyond the confines of Earth.   Lauren Edgar, a research geologist at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center, conducts current astronaut training for 6

the upcoming Artemis mission in which NASA plans to send the first American woman and next American man to the lunar south pole by 2024.  This location was chosen specifically for the presence of ice seen in perpetually shadowed craters. Research will be conducted to determine the location’s viability as a midway point between Earth and Mars, among other things.    Thanks to Shoemaker’s contributions, “You had more and more geology being done in each subsequent [Apollo] mission,” Edgar said. “NASA and others recognize now if we’re going to the moon we’ll be doing a lot more science, not just planting a flag.”   Edgar’s interest in the possibilities space exploration offered  began when she was young. She recalled seeing one of the Discovery Space Shuttle launches when she was in the 2nd grade.    “I was fascinated ever since,” she said, although she originally pursued an education in engineering, unaware at the time that she could utilize geological disciplines to study space.   Now, as a member of the Mars Science Laboratory and Mars Exploration Rover science teams, Edgar helps identify potentially habitable environments on the red planet. For her work with the astronaut classes that continue to come to Flagstaff to train, she teaches them about the surface processes on Earth and Mars in the classroom, and how to collect samples and map geologic units in the field.   “We’re hoping to inspire this next generation and have them realize even earlier than I did that this is a career path,” Edgar said.     For these students and future astronauts, the sky is no longer the limit.  LUNARLEGACY

Experience Flagstaff’s Lunar Legacy with us! 10am - 6pm

Lunar Legacy Tours and Access to Lunar Legacy Exhibits



10am - 10pm

Lunar OmniGlobe Presentations

10am - 10pm

Hands-on Lunar Activities for Kids

1:30 - 4pm 5:30 - 6:45pm

Apollo 11 Documentary Film @ The Orpheum Theater Flagstaff Community Band Concert

7 - 7:45pm

Panel Discussion by Past and Current Scientists (“Lunar Legends”)

7:45 - 8pm

Giant Leap Video

8 - 8:30pm

One Giant Leap Retrospective

8:30 - 9pm 8 - 10pm

Lunar Legends Mingle Meet an Astronomer Dr. Phil Massey

Every Apollo astronaut trained in Flagstaff, Arizona. At Lowell Observatory, you can look through the 1896 24-inch Alvan Clark refractor, just as Apollo astronauts did during their training. This telescope was also used to create very detailed maps of the moon in preparation for the moon landings on July 20, 1969 and beyond.

Follow in their footsteps:

Artist Patricia Bridges airbrushes a lunar map for the Apollo astronauts at Lowell Observatory in 1965.


Gene Shoemaker Father of Astrogeology There are a great many people who have contributed to Flagstaff’s role in moon exploration. But one stands out as a shining star—Eugene Merle Shoemaker. A graduate of the California Institute of Technology, Shoemaker joined the U.S. Geological Survey when he was 20. During his early work, he became intrigued with the moon and the possibility of traveling there. In 1952 a visit to Meteor Crater led him to think that craters on the moon were created by asteroidal impacts, and in 1960 he received his doctorate from Princeton for helping prove the impact origin of Meteor Crater. It’s not often that the world welcomes a new field of science, but Shoemaker founded the USGS Branch of Astrogeology during the Space Race. He had hoped to be the first geologist on the moon. In 1963 the infant astrogeology center was relocated from Menlo Park, California, to Flagstaff to be close to the San Francisco Volcanic Field and Meteor Crater, geological features that were considered comparable to the moon and other planetary bodies. Flagstaff became a 8

favorite place of the geologist, and he, his wife and children became longtime residents. In northern Arizona, Shoemaker and his team went about training Apollo astronauts in geology, how to procure geological samples and travel on lunar terrain. From its perch on McMillan Mesa, the USGS campus has supported NASA’s space program with scientific and cartographic expertise for more than 50 years and continues to be a leader in the field of space science research. Gene died in a 1997 auto accident in Australia while studying impact craters with his wife, Carolyn. As a tribute to the planetary geologist who never was able to fulfill his dream to go to the moon, NASA sent some of Shoemaker’s ashes to the moon on the Lunar Prospector probe in 1998. Perhaps the best summation of his life’s research comes from a biographical memoir by Susan W. Kieffer published in 2015 by the National Academy of Sciences. In it, she wrote that “Gene in effect stole the planets from the astronomers and gave them to the geologists.” LUNARLEGACY

‘Gene in effect stole the planets from the astronomers and gave them to the geologists.’ —Susan W. Kieffer


Pat Bridges

Principal Moon Illustrator Illinois native Patricia “Pat” Bridges earned an art degree in 1955 from Washington University in St. Louis. When Bridges married, she and her new husband traveled to Arizona for their honeymoon and fell in love with Flagstaff. Little could Bridges know that she would eventually move here permanently. For a period during her college years, Bridges had earned money by restoring old murals in the dome of an old courthouse in St. Louis, climbing on scaffolding to ply her talents. She later took a job at the United States Air Force’s Aeronautical Chart and Information Center (ACIC) office in St. Louis making shaded relief maps. When the ACIC ventured into moon mapping, Bridges did some of the sample drawings of the lunar surface and proved so proficient at doing so that when the ACIC opened an office at Lowell Observatory in 1961, specifically to chart the moon for lunar missions, she was chosen to join the effort as the principal illustrator. She spent several years working in this office, alternating beLUNARLEGACY

tween studying lunar images, peering through the observatory’s classic 24-inch Clark Telescope to pick out faint details on the lunar surface and using an airbrush to capture these details on maps. When Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell and other astronauts came to Flagstaff in 1963 for training, they visited the ACIC office and learned about lunar cartography from this humble young woman. After several years of making lunar maps, and as moon mapping efforts at the ACIC office started winding down, Bridges left and spent several years at home raising her children. In 1970 she went back to work, this time at the United States Geological Survey’s Branch of Astrogeology. Her first assignment there was making a map of the Apollo 11 landing site. She later worked on maps of planets until retiring in 1990. The city continues to hold Bridges within its gravitational field, as she and her husband now split their time between Phoenix and their home on the east side of Flagstaff. 9


Jack Schmitt

Astronaut and Geologist In 1972, on the last Apollo mission, Harrison "Jack" Schmitt became the first scientist on the moon. When the geologist joined the astrogeology branch of the U.S. Geological Survey in Flagstaff, it was to follow in the footsteps of Gene Shoemaker who first introduced the idea that geology was equally as important to space exploration as other scientific disciplines. In his work with the USGS, Schmitt contributed to mapping of the moon and led the Lunar Field Geological Methods project before learning NASA was recruiting a special team of scientist-astronauts. “I thought about 10 seconds and raised my hand and volunteered,” Schmitt said in an interview with in 2012. “I can remember feeling, at the time, that if I didn’t volunteer, no matter what happened to my application, that I’d almost certainly regret it when human beings actually went to the moon.” From an applicant pool of more than 1,000, six were chosen, including Schmitt, and he quickly began preparations in 1965 to visit the Moon. He completed his pilot training at Williams Air Force Base in Arizona. When NASA launched Apollo 17 on 10

Dec. 7, 1972, it carried Schmitt, Ronald Evans and mission commander Eugene A. Cernan. Although Schmitt was not originally assigned to the Apollo 17 mission, he was added to the crew after the public made it clear they wanted to see a geologist go to the moon. On Dec. 11, Cernan and Schmitt became the eleventh and twelfth men to walk on the moon when their lunar module, Challenger, landed at the Taurus-Littrow region, believed to be a hotbed for volcanic activity. During three EVAs (extravehicular activities), the two spent 22 hours and five minutes on the lunar surface collecting rock and soil samples, taking photographs and setting up equipment. They traveled a total of 36 kilometers (22 miles) and discovered orange soil, a likely sign of volcanic activity. Apollo 17 was the final manned mission to the moon, making Cernan and Schmitt the last to set foot on the lunar surface. Before heading back to Earth, the crew left a plaque that reads: “Here man completed his first exploration of the moon, December 1972, A.D. May the spirit of peace in which we came be reflected in the lives of all mankind.” LUNARLEGACY

“...if I didn’t volunteer, no matter what happened to my application... I’d almost certainly regret it when human beings actually went to the moon.” —Harrison “Jack” Schmitt


Charlie Duke

Astronaut, Apollo 16 The 10th and youngest person to ever walk on the moon, Apollo 16 Lunar Module Pilot General Charlie Duke has a special tie to northern Arizona. And it’s not just because he is the keynote speaker for the 30th annual Flagstaff Festival of Science, which runs from September 20-29, 2019. In preparation for his 1972 space flight, Duke, like all of the Apollo mission astronauts, trained in Flagstaff. He practiced maneuvering a moon buggy prototype over rough volcanic terrain and in and out of a simulated crater field north of town. “The suspension provided a lot smoother ride than we had on the moon,” he said. “The practice rover on Earth was 800 to 900 pounds and a lot more stable. The one on the moon only weighed 80 pounds. The thing bounced around a lot.” Duke also visited Meteor Crater and hiked the Grand Canyon as part of his training. As a tribute to Flagstaff and the support the astronauts received, Duke and Apollo 16 Commander John Young named a moon crater near their Lunar Highlands landing spot Flag Crater, a name that has LUNARLEGACY

been officially recognized by the official governing body of astronomical nomenclature, the International Astronomical Union. “I found Flagstaff to be one of the most interesting places that we visited to study geology,” Duke recently said. “I loved the people, the San Francisco Peaks and the beauty of the area.” Duke will share his experiences on the moon and provide insight into the future of space travel during his Festival of Science talk at 7 p.m. on Friday, September 20, in Northern Arizona University’s Ardrey Auditorium. “I see us back in space with a permanent moon base. There we can develop systems and the confidence in repairing those systems, and eventually launch to Mars. We’ll learn how to live in deep space like we do in Antarctica and cycle in crews every couple of months,” he said. “We are going to want to see people going into space more. The human heart is meant to explore.”

Article written by Bonnie Stevens Flagstaff Festival of Science Coordinator 11

Geologist Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, working at the USGS astrogeology branch in Flagstaff, is chosen to the fourth class of astronauts.

The first field tests of NASA spacesuits are carried out at Bonito Lava Flow at Sunset Crater. Astronauts train in the Grand Canyon for the first time, learning geological principles as they carry out field work. They hike down the South Kaibab Trail, stay overnight at Phantom Ranch and hike and ride mules up Bright Angel Trail.

The astrogeology branch of the U.S. Geological Survey establishes headquarters in Flagstaff. Until the USGS builds a facility on McMillan Mesa, staff are housed at the Museum of Northern Arizona and other places around Flagstaff.

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Using photographs of a section of the moon as a basis, the USGS creates a crater field near Sunset Crater that simulates the lunar surface. This is done by digging holes, filling them with explosives and dramatically detonating them.

Representatives from Bell Aerospace Corporation demonstrates use of a prototype Lunar Flying Vehicles, more commonly known as a “Rocket Belt,” at the Hopi Buttes volcanic field on the Navajo reservation.

The USGS moves into its new building on McMillan Mesa. The space is inadequate to house all of the support personnel so the USGS continues to rent out other facilities around town.

The USGS purchases a 30-inch telescope for its own moon mapping efforts. Their geologic maps were used for selecting landing sites.

Astronauts first come to Flagstaff to train. The group of nine includes future moonwalkers Neil Armstrong, Pete Conrad and John Young as well as Apollo 13 legend Jim Lovell. They visit Meteor Crater, Sunset Crater and Lowell. In the evening, they split into three groups for telescope viewing, with one going to Lowell, one to NAU and the other to the Naval Observatory. All the astronauts who walked on the moon trained in northern Arizona.

The Aeronautical Chart and Information Center, a branch of the U.S. Air Force, establishes an office at Lowell Observatory to map the moon.

“… it will not be one man going to the moon … it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.” —President John F. Kennedy to Congress May 26, 1961 Seeds collected from several places, including Mars Hill in Flagstaff, are carried to the moon on the Apollo 14 mission. After the seeds were returned to Earth, the U.S. Forest Service germinated them and the resulting seedlings were planted around the United States and called “Moon Trees.”

NASA and the USGS test three Lunar Roving Vehicle simulators at Sunset Crater, Miriam Crater and nearby volcanic fields. One of these, Grover the Geologic Rover, was the prototype for the LRV that astronauts used on the moon during the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 missions.

Apollo 8—with astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders—becomes the first manned mission to the moon, circling it on Christmas Eve.

1972 1968 1969 1970 1971 7

Flagstaff’s Jack Schmitt, aboard Apollo 17, becomes the first and only scientist to walk on the moon. This is the last Apollo mission to the moon.

Neil Armstrong becomes the first person to walk on another world when he takes his “One small step for man” during the Apollo 11 flight to the moon with Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. Many Lowell scientists are in support rooms at Mission Control in Houston. Coconino County Superior Court reporters are also on hand to transcribe conversations between the astronauts and mission control.

The USGS constructs a second crater field, about a half mile north of the first one. The areas become known as Cinder Lake Crater Fields 1 and 2.

YOU CAN’T GET TO THE MOON WITHOUT GOING THROUGH FLAGSTAFF. Congratulations on the 50th anniversary of your role in the Apollo Moon Mission. Your spirit of adventure continues to inspire us all to get out and blaze new trails.


Baerbel and Ivo Lucchitta Geologists

Dr. Baerbel Lucchitta of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Branch of Astrogeology contributed to the Apollo 17 mission during a transformative time for women in the workplace, particularly in the male-dominated geology and planetary science disciplines. She was an important role model to women who shunned traditional careers during the ‘60s. She and her husband, Ivo, earned their doctorates in geology from Pennsylvania State University in 1966 before moving to Flagstaff for Ivo’s job with the Apollo program at the USGS. In 1967, Baerbel launched her own career by mapping the moon, then Mars and finally Jupiter’s moons. During the Apollo 17 mission, Baerbel was in Houston and, among others, served as a backroom researcher transmitting information to the command center, which communicated with the crew on the moon. But both before and after the mission she interacted with astronaut and geologist Harrison “Jack” Schmitt extensively, mostly about the dark mantle, thought to be a volcanic pyroclastic deposit to be found at the Taurus-Littrow valley, Apollo 17’s landing site. She had done research on these mantles, and was gratified that during their traverses on the moon Schmitt found orange LUNARLEGACY

glass, a component of the dark mantle which strongly suggested a volcanic origin. Schmitt and Baerbel published a paper together about these findings. “I was elated,” Baerbel said of getting the opportunity to contribute to such an important period of history. “At the time, astronauts were big-hero stuff, and I was absolutely thrilled to be part of it all. I was thrilled to do research on the moon, where almost everything we found was brand new. I was thrilled having the opportunity to personally meet the astronauts, have dinner with them, get to know them and interact with them. I was floating on air.” Ivo’s work with the manned lunar missions lasted for several years before the focus of his geological research returned to terrestrial subjects. The Lucchittas remain passionate about their work, and both are scientist emeriti at USGS following their joint retirement in 1995. Ivo also holds an adjunct professor position at Northern Arizona University, and has written several books for laypeople on the earth’s geological processes. Article written in part by J. Richie U.S. Geological Survey Astrogeology Science Center 15


Jerry Schaber USGS Geologist Fifty years have passed since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin touched down on the lunar surface during the Apollo 11 mission. Back on Earth in Mission Control, Gerald “Jerry” Schaber distracted himself during those terrifying moments as the craft was looking for a place to land and the fuel was running out by monitoring Armstrong and Aldrin’s heartbeats. Schaber came to Flagstaff after earning a PhD in geology in 1965. He is one of just a handful of players who can still recount the first steps on the moon with such inordinate detail. Assigned to the Eugene Shoemaker Lunar Surface Geology Experiment under the U.S. Geological Survey, he was part of a team of astrogeologists responsible for mapping moon quadrangles in coordination with Lowell Observatory, which was creating the so-called base maps. Schaber also helped train astronauts how to identify astrogeological formations. At Hopi Buttes, whose volcanic leavings mimicked the moon, several geologists donned space suits to facilitate the training. “Not me, though, it was so hot. One of our guys passed out in the space suit, another dumped out a boot full of sweat at the end of the day,” Schaber said. “No, I was analyzing 16

rocks from there and Meteor Crater.” Then, a map Schaber created proved imperative on July 20, 1969. It depicted the limb of the Apollo Lunar Module and its surroundings, with two paper figures representing Aldrin and Armstrong. The map was projected onto the wall in mission control; Schaber’s job was to move the paper representations of the astronauts in accordance with the live transmission of their movements. He was also to make note of each location where the two men picked up lunar samples. Suddenly, Armstrong stepped off screen and out of sight. Schaber moved the paper doll, later creating a map that recorded the astronauts’ famed steps in the form of small ink dots. This, the 1969 Apollo 11 Landing Site Preliminary Traverse Map, was sent to President Richard Nixon the following year; a copy still hangs in Schaber’s office. In the months that followed the landing, Schaber spent up to 16 hours a day matching photos the astronauts took with lunar samples they’d brought back. He retired from the USGS in 1995, but before that he would participate in the Apollo 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 missions, as well as the Viking 1 mission to Mars. LUNARLEGACY


The Grand Canyon In the mid-1960s, local geologists looking for a way to inspire a group of jet pilots to want to learn about geological principles led the aviators on hikes into the Grand Canyon. The pilots were Apollo astronauts, and the hikes helped them prepare for their missions to the moon. All 12 astronauts who later flew around the moon, and 11 of the 12 who would set foot on the lunar surface, participated in these training exercises. The one moonwalker not accounted for? That would be Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, who ironically is the only geologist to walk on the moon. While the pilots were learning geology at the Grand Canyon, geologist Schmitt— who was working at the USGS in Flagstaff when he was chosen to be an astronaut—was training to be a pilot. This astronaut training transpired over three trips.

The first was on March 5-6, 1964, and consisted of 18 astronauts, including the future crew of the first manned landing on the moon, Apollo 11: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. The second trip happened a week later and the third, which included future moonwalker and 2019 Flagstaff Festival of Science Keynote Speaker Charlie Duke, in June 1966. All three hikes followed the same plan. The astronauts listened to a briefing at the Yavapai Geology Museum then headed to the trailhead of South Kaibab Trail. They broke up into small groups, with two or three astronauts and a geologist in each group, and would hike down, stay overnight at Phantom Ranch, and return to the top via Bright Angel Trail. The hikes turned into crash courses in geology, with the astronauts each carrying ge-

ology hammers, hand lenses, compasses, field notebooks and other tools of the trade. Along the way, they studied the general superposition of rock layers as well as more detailed features such as the fossils of the Kaibab Limestone and cross bedding in the Coconino Sandstone. While the geologists knew these particular types of rocks, not to mention the fossils, would not be on the moon, they nevertheless found them

useful in teaching the stories that rocks tell. Plus, they had the undivided attention of the astronauts; teaching geology to a group of largely cynical pilots with limited interest in geology was much easier to do within the grandeur of the Grand Canyon than in a classroom. Article written by Kevin Schindler Lowell Observatory Historian

NASA Apollo 11 First Moon Landing 50th Anniversary Sunset Crater Volcano National NASA Apollo 11 First Moon Landing 50th Anniversary Monument Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument NASA Apollo 11 First Moon Landing 50th Anniversary Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument




Photo by Joe Llama

Lowell Observatory

Lowell Observatory is known for its legacy of cutting-edge research ranging from detection of the first evidence of the expanding universe in 1912 and discovery of Pluto in 1930, to modern-day studies of the solar system and beyond with one of the world’s most powerful tools for exploring space, Lowell’s Discovery Channel Telescope. The observatory is also

a center for informal science education, with recent surges in visitation demonstrating the public’s desire to seek out activities that allow them to experience wonder and awe. Both Flagstaff and the observatory trace their beginnings to the southeastern side of the mesa known today by locals as Mars Hill. Ten years after the

city’s founding, Percival Lowell’s assistant, Andrew Douglass, climbed to the top of that same mesa on a cool day in April to observe the quality of the air for telescopic viewing. This was the 11th site he had tested in Arizona, with a goal of finding an ideal location to build Lowell’s observatory. Mars Hill proved the most suitable of all the places Douglass had tested in Flagstaff, as well as in Tombstone, Tucson, Tempe and Prescott. Douglass decided to build the facility a half mile to the north of Site 11, where the slope up the mesa was gentler and thus more ideal to build a road upon. While Lowell helped pave the way for the development of Flagstaff as a scientific commu-

nity, it also played a leading role in a related effort—establishing the city as a dark sky community. In 1989, Coconino County passed the world’s first law restricting both the type and amount of light allowed per acre and, in 2001, the International DarkSky Association (IDA) recognized these ongoing efforts by naming Flagstaff the world’s first International Dark Sky City. More recent events that brought nationwide attention to Flagstaff include the New Horizons spacecraft’s flyby of Pluto in 2015 and the Great American Eclipse of 2017. In 2011, the observatory was named one of "The World's 100 Most Important Places" by Time magazine.

staff. Adel was the sole physics professor when he began his tenure at NAU in 1948; scientific research was nearly nonexistent. The building of the Atmospheric Research Observatory in 1952 and Adel’s subsequent atmospheric research was funded by a grant from the Air Force. The focus on STEM disciplines at the university has since grown, and the obser-

vatory continues to share the wonders of the universe with the public through open viewing hours hosted by the NAU Astronomy Club on clear Friday nights from 7:30-10 p.m. during the school year. Availability can be confirmed before visiting the observatory, located at 1401 S. San Francisco St., by calling (928) 523-7170. Use of the telescope is free, donations accepted.

Atmospheric Research Observatory Northern Arizona University plays an important role in Flagstaff’s vibrant science community by helping educate future astronomers. Students enrolled in upper-level astronomy courses learn about the operation of a modern telescope through hands-on learning opportunities at the Atmospheric Research Observatory. The observatory encompasses the Barry Lutz Telescope, named for NAU physics and astronomy professor Barry Lutz who, along with NAU Vice Provost for Academic Personnel Susanna Maxwell, donated $50,000 to keep the observatory viable in 2008. The carbontruss 0.5 f/8.1 Ritchey-Chretien telescope is a two-mirror sys18

tem that has no glass or refractive elements. It is similar in design to most professional grade observatories, as well as the Hubble Space Telescope. Through the observatory, students and other researchers conduct research on celestial bodies such as the moon, stars, asteroids, extra-solar planets and more. NAU has Arthur Adel to thank for this contribution to the campus. The astronomer, astrophysicist and mathematician first moved to Flagstaff for a residency at Lowell Observatory in 1936. He later joined the war effort conducting research for the Navy and held several teaching positions in Michigan before returning to Flag-


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Meteor Crater Only a 45-minute drive from Flagstaff by way of Interstate 40 sits the world’s best preserved meteorite impact site on Earth: Barringer Crater, colloquially known as Meteor Crater. The name Barringer Crater refers to the first person to suggest the crater was produced by a meteorite impact, geologist and scientist Daniel M. Barringer. His hypothesis, which he presented in arguments to the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia in 1906 and 1909, was originally met with some skepticism. Later, when planetary science gained traction and our understanding of cratering processes increased, he was proven right. Some 50,000 years ago during the Pleistocene epoch, a meteor struck the area with the energy of more than 20 million tons of dynamite, creating an impact site about a mile wide and 550 feet deep. Now Meteor Crater is an international tourist venue with a wide screen movie theater, an interactive discovery center, guided rim

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tours that take visitors along its 2.4-mile circumference and a unique gift and rock shop, but 50 years ago the site played an important role in preparing NASA astronauts for the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. After astrogeologist Eugene Shoemaker proved Barringer ’s crater hypothesis by discovering the presence of the minerals coesite and stishovite, as well as a rare form of silica produced only where quartz-bearing rocks have been severely shocked through an impact event, the site became essential for surveying moon-like features before the landmark trip. While meteor-impact craters such as the site in northern Arizona are somewhat unique here on Earth, the moon is chock-full of them. To study and familiarize themselves with this type of geological feature, as well as prepare for the types of terrain travel they might face, Apollo astronauts were brought to Meteor Crater to test their gear, including NASA’s firstgeneration space suits.




The Flagstaff Unieed School District is proud to support the Flagstaff Lunar Legacy and student opportunities focused on science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics.


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United States Naval Observatory Flagstaff Festival of Science

To the Moon and Beyond! Sept. 20 - 29, 2019

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The United States Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station, a tall, domed building on Anderson Mesa, contains a storied history. Built in 1955, the observatory was established by USNO to get away from light that had been encroaching on Washington, D.C. over nearly a century. The lack of light pollution in Flagstaff would allow for a clearer picture through the station’s telescopes, aiding in astronomy research for decades to come. The observatory was crucial in the 1978 discovery of Pluto’s dwarf moon Charon, but well before that, the telescopes provided important research opportunities in the lead-up to the Apollo 11 moon landing. A strogeologist Eugene Shoemaker’s first U.S. Geological Survey assignment included large amounts of fieldwork in northern Arizona and critical


to his choice to conduct it in the region was also the potential partnership between Lowell Observatory and the Naval Observatory, which was at the time already involved with America’s space program through NASA. Eventually, astronauts, astronomers and astrogeologists alike made their way to the Naval Observatory in the 196 0 s for telescope view ing. The Naval Observatory proved more than crucial in studying the geology of the moon, which helped the astrogeology team under the Branch of Astrogeology (later to become the A strogeology Science Center) observe and photograph the moon’s surface with the aids of these telescopes, something that helped to make Neil A rm strong’s famed 1969 “giant leap for mankind” possible.


United States Geological Survey When the U.S. Geological Survey was created in 1879 by passage of the Organic Act through Congress, it was with the purpose of mapping public lands, examining geological structure and evaluating mineral resources. Its mission expanded over the next centur y to encompass the research of groundwater, environmental health, natural hazards, ecosystems and more. It is the sole agency dedicated to science through the Department of the In terior. The USGS expanded its scope again when Eugene Shoemaker introduced a brand new field of science to the world through his founding of the Branch of Astrogeology. The fledgling depar t ment b egan op era tions in Flagstaff’s USGS of-

fice in 1963, with the purpose of providing lunar mapping and science training for the astronauts destined for the moon. USGS scientists study the moon through telescopes at Lowell Observatory, Northern Arizona University, the U.S. Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station and the USGS telescope built specifically for lunar mapping. USGS astrogeologists including Baerbel Lucchitta and illustrators including Pat Bridges helped create the lunar maps used for selecting landing sites on the moon during the Apollo missions. Today, the USGS Astrogeology Science Center supports NASA and other space agencies with planetary mapping for numerous spacecraft missions throughout the solar system. LUNARLEGACY


Places Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument After the U.S. Geological Survey established its Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff in preparation for the Apollo 11 mission, various sites around the area became training grounds for astronauts including Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and more. One such site is Sunset Crater. The crater is a cinder cone located within the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument and is the youngest in a string of volcanoes with relation to the San Francisco Peaks. The eruption in A.D. 1064 is thought to have

formed the 340-meter-high cone which would later become a site for Apollo 11 astronauts to study a volcanic crater, but that almost didn’t happen. In 1928, the Hollywood film company Famous PlayersLasky Corporation planned to detonate large quantities of explosives at the site to create an avalanche for Zane Grey’s now lost silent Western feature “Avalanche.” Following public outcry and the quick actions of Museum of Northern Arizona cofounder Harold S. Colton, President Herbert

Hoover proclaimed Sunset Crater a national monument in 1930. Because of its proclamation and protection, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument acted as a location for astronauts to explore the remnants of lava flows and further

Cinder Lake Crater Fields One of the most critical issues the Apollo astronauts would encounter after reaching the moon was to pinpoint their location. They would have to be able to survey the landscape and identify craters and other topographical features as depicted on Lunar Orbiter photographs and maps 22

created by Flagstaff scientists. In order to become experts at identifying these topographic features, this meant hours of training beforehand. U.S. Geological Survey personnel found, or rather created, an ideal setting to carry this out near Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument

at Cinder Lake. Located within the San Francisco Volcanic field, an 18,000-square-mile span of bumpy terrain, the area’s assembly of 600 volcanoes and associated fields of cindery rubble was a perfect setting due to its surface geology which is made


learn from Earth’s geological features what they might expect to encounter on the moon. Despite an eruption scare in 2015, geologists have reminded the public the volcano is extinct, however, the San Francisco Volcanic field is still considered active. up of a layer of basaltic cinders covering clay beds, thought to be similar to the rocky surface of the moon.   Technicians buried and set off explosives in the cinder fields in July 1967. After the explosions, the excavated lighter clay material spread out from the blast craters and across the fields, like ejecta from actual meteorite impacts. The completed Cinder Lake Crater Field #1 mimicked Apollo 11’s intended Sea of Tranquility lunar landing site, with 47 human-made craters ranging in size from five to 40 feet in diameter. This field was expanded to 143 craters in October 1967. The simulated lunar surface proved valuable not only for crater identification exercises but also for practice collecting geological samples, testing hand tools and driving prototype rovers. An additional field, Cinder Lake Crater Field #2, was later created adjacent to this first one. Nearly 500 craters were created across these two locations, encompassing 2,000 square feet of land.

Gore’s MIL-ENE insulated conductors were used on the Apollo spacecraft


The lunar rock-collecting shovel also included Gore products


Buzz Aldrin, Jr. and Neil Armstrong installed seismographic equipment that was connected to the lunar lander with Gore wire


Gore wire and cable was a part of the ground support equipment— tracking radar, computers, and communication equipment to ensure a safe return home

Gore’s products contributed to the success of multiple missions


International Space Station

Space suit fibers to protect astronauts


Hubble Space Telescope



XM/Sirius Satellite Radio

Weather and Atmospheric Monitoring

GPS Satellite Programs

New Horizon

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Mars Rover

At NAU, Flagstaff’s Lunar Legacy Lives On NAU’s world-class astronomers and planetary scientists collaborate with NASA scientists to expand the frontiers of knowledge. • Nadine Barlow studies impact craters, primarily on Mars. • Christopher Edwards investigates planetary surfaces. • David Koerner studies the properties of planetesimal disks • • • • • • •

around nearby stars. Mark Loeffler simulates processes that occur in extraterrestrial environments. Ty Robinson studies the atmospheres of worlds both inside and outside the Solar System. Mark Salvatore explores the evolution of planetary surfaces and landscapes. Stephen Tegler studies Kuiper Belt objects at the edge of the Solar System. Cristina Thomas investigates near-Earth, Main Belt, and Trojan asteroids. David Trilling studies the small bodies in our Solar System. Chad Trujillo searches for new planets on the outer edge of our Solar System.

Research, Elevated.

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Flagstaff Lunar Legacy | 2019  

Flagstaff Lunar Legacy | 2019  

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