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Limited Edition

The Arizona Daily Sun





City plays significant role in moon program

Lunar Legacy launches July 20

By Nancy Wiechec, Kevin Schindler and Lori Pappas Every astronaut who walked on the moon, from Neil Armstrong to Eugene Cernan, prepared for their journey in northern Arizona. From the rocky depths of the Grand Canyon to cosmic views from Flagstaff’s dark skies, the area proved to be an ideal place for exercises like lunar buggy testing, geology training, mission simula(Photo courtesy of NASA) tions and moon mapping This year and next, Flagstaff will recall and celebrate its part in America’s historical achievements in moon exploration by marking the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, which put humans on another world for the first time July 20, 1969. Headlines in the Arizona Daily Sun that summer reveal the great extent to which the city was in the spotlight. “Lowell maps guide Apollo,” “Scientists here play key Apollo role,” and “Flag gets Apollo TV role” were among the frontpage headers. During its live coverage of Apollo 11 from liftoff to splashdown, CBS News did cutaways from the Astrogeology (Photo courtesy of Center of Astrogeology USGS) Branch of the U.S. Geological Survey in Flagstaff. Walter Cronkite visited the city in early July as part of his preparations for the broadcasts. It was the second time Flagstaff was in the world spotlight with a role in making space history. The first being astronomer Clyde Tombaugh’s discovery of Pluto at Lowell Observatory in 1930. Flagstaff’s participation in the Apollo Program lasted as long as the U.S. manned moon missions, from 1961 to 1972. Lowell Observatory, the Naval Observatory, Meteor Crater, Sunset Crater, Hopi Buttes, the Cinder Lake crater fields and the Grand Canyon all played a role in preparing Apollo astronauts. The new USGS Astrogeology Branch made

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(Photo courtesy of Center of Astrogeology USGS)

Flagstaff AZ Lunar Legacy, a yearlong celebration marking the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 and northern Arizona’s role in moon exploration, launches July 20 at the Orpheum Theater. The free event begins at 5 p.m. and will feature moon-themed presentations, exhibits, family activities and music. Mayor Coral Evans kicks off the evening by reading a proclamation recognizing the Flagstaff AZ Lunar Legacy. Space historians will give a brief presentation about Flagstaff’s role in preparing for the manned moon missions of the late 1960s and early 1970s and how these missions impacted humanity. Part of the presentation will include vintage footage showing the dramatic 1967 explosion of a cinder field near Sunset Crater. This well-planned event resulted in a simulated lunar crater field critical for testing moon-bound instruments and training astronauts. A variety of local science and education organizations will be on hand to lead demonstrations and share information about the moon, particularly the astronaut training, instrument testing and mapping that took place in northern Arizona. Telescope viewing, robotic rover activities and science experiments highlight this fun, hands-on experience. Starting at 8 p.m., the bands Planet Sandwich and Lucky Lenny will feature space-themed music. Planet Sandwich, a Flagstaff group playing original American rock music featuring a party mix of Beatles-esque pop, 90s rock, ska and country, will debut its new album “Yo Pluto!” Flagstaff-based string band Lucky Lenny takes the stage next. They will perform “Dark Side of the Moon: Bluegrass Style” in their set. Guests can purchase food and drinks including a special “Apollo IPA” from the Grand Canyon Brewing Company. The kickoff event is sponsored by the Lowell Observatory and the Flag-

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Artist Pat Bridges works on a moon map at Lowell in 1965. (Photo courtesy of Pat Bridges)

People of Flagstaff made important contributions to Apollo missions By Kevin Schindler Lowell Observatory Historian As we gear up to celebrate the golden anniversary of humanity’s first steps on a foreign world, we naturally think of those star voyagers who made the trips. From First Man Neil Armstrong to Flagstaff’s own Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, 12 men walked on the moon, and another 12 circled it. These two dozen explorers comprise a tiny fraction of the approximate 400,000 people who contributed to the manned lunar missions, some of whom were based here in northern Arizona. Take, for instance, Patricia “Pat” Bridges, an Illinois native who in 1955 earned an art degree from Washington University in St. Louis. When Pat married, she and her new husband traveled to Arizona for their honeymoon and fell in love with Flagstaff. Little could Pat know that she would eventually move here permanently. At one point while still in college, Pat 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, Pat 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 between studying lunar images, peering through the observatory’s classic 24-inch Clark Telescope to pick out faint details on the lunar surface, and then 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 about learned 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, Pat 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 (USGS) 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. Pat and her husband now split their time between Phoenix and their home on the east side of Flagstaff. This area of town, in fact, was once dominated by the scientists and other supporting personnel involved in moon efforts. One of those people, geologist Gerald “Jerry” Schaber, also still lives there with his wife, Sandy, in the house where they raised their children. Jerry, a native Kentuckian, earned his doctorate in geology from the University of Cincinnati in 1965. That spring he accepted a position with the USGS Branch of Astrogeology in Flagstaff. In July, Jerry and Sandy, along with their infant daughter Jennifer, drove cross-country to their new home in northern Arizona. Fresh out of college and ready to begin his career, Jerry was a little taken aback when he arrived at his new job only to find that his supervisor wasn’t there, and in fact, had left the

a significant contribution with lunar geologic mapping and training for work on the moon. In an elaborate effort to model the moon surface, the branch, working with NASA, blasted hundreds of different-sized craters in the earth to form the Cinder Lake crater fields. They served as a comparable moon surface to test astronaut skills and instruments. NASA and the USGS also put three potential lunar rover vehicles to the test at Sunset Crater, Miriam Crater and surrounding volcanic features. One built in Flagstaff remains on display at the USGS. Some of the USGS scientists based in Flagstaff also were on hand at Mission Control Center in Houston during Apollo flights. Today, the USGS Astrogeology Branch continues its presence in Flagstaff as the Astrogeology Science Center, located near Buffalo Park. Scientists process and analyze data from numerous missions to planetary bodies in our solar system. They assist in finding potential landing sites for exploration vehicles and map the Earth’s neighboring planets and moons. The story of astrogeology, the geologic study of solid bodies in the solar system, began with Eugene M. Shoemaker, the geologist who coined the term. It was a new area of science and Shoemaker was its leading proponent. Certain that geologic study would soon extend into space, he established the astrogeology study unit in 1961 at the U.S. Geological Survey campus in Menlo Park, California. Two years later, the group moved to Flagstaff, a place Shoemaker considered ideal for such work because of its terrain, established observatories and nearby Meteor Crater, the Earth’s best-preserved meteorite impact site. Flagstaff also happened to be a favorite place of the geologist, and he, his wife and children became longtime residents of the city. Shoemaker’s fascination with the moon arose from an experience he had on his 20th birthday while working on a uranium study on the Colorado Plateau. He looked up to see a beautiful nearly-full moon that night. His experience is part of a 2005 report outlining the activities of the USGS Astrogeology Branch in the Apollo

Program. “That first evening of Gene’s focus on the moon, and its then uncertain geologic nature, led that spring to Gene’s admitted ‘epiphany’ about going the moon himself, and exploring its geology as a field geologist,” said the report. A health issue prevented Shoemaker from becoming the first astronaut geologist, but he helped train Apollo astronauts, using Meteor Crater, the Grand Canyon and other landmark geology sites as classrooms. He sat with newsman Cronkite giving commentary during the Apollo moonwalks, and was involved in lunar and solar system studies for the rest of his life. In 1992, President George H. W. Bush presented Shoemaker with the National Medal of Science, the highest scientific honor bestowed by the president of the United States. Shoemaker died in an auto accident in 1997 while working in Australia. As a tribute to the planetary geologist who never was able to fulfill his desire to go to the moon, NASA sent Shoemaker’s ashes to the moon aboard the Lunar Prospector probe in January 1998. “I don’t think Gene ever dreamed his ashes would go to the moon,” said his wife Carolyn at the time of the probe’s launch. “He would be thrilled.” Along with the work accomplished by Shoemaker and the USGS team, contributions to Flagstaff’s lunar legacy include: •

Coconino County Superior Court reporters travel to Mission Control in Houston to transcribe conversations in real time between Apollo 11 astronauts and Mission Control staff.

• Astronauts study the moon through telescopes at Lowell Observatory, Northern Arizona University and the U.S. Naval Observatory’s Flagstaff station.

USGS altogether. He had just taken a new position and relocated to Houston. Jerry overcame this shock and quickly settled into his duties of developing techniques • Artists work with for studying lunar rocks and soil. scientists at Lowell Jerry eventually participated in a wide range of Observatory to create moon-related activities, from mapping the geology of detailed lunar topovolcanic fields in preparation for using the sites for geographic maps. They did logical training by the astronauts, to serving on a team this partly by observthat planned the astronauts’ geology traverses on the ing the moon through moon. This effort culminated in him being stationed at Lowell telescopes, the Mission Control building in Houston as Neil Armincluding the historic strong took humanity’s first step on another world. 24-inch Clark refracJerry worked with and trained many of the astrotor, which remains in nauts, including Jack Schmitt, the only geologist to walk use today for public on the moon. It was a coming full circle thing; the sueducation. pervisor that left the Branch of Astrogeology right before Jerry arrived was none other than Schmitt, who would become the 12th—and last—man to walk on the moon. Jerry was intimately involved with most of the Apollo moon missions and to this day loves to share stories of working side by side with the astronauts during training sessions and being shut up in rooms at Mission Control during launches, oblivious to the time of day or the workings of the outside world. One of his fondest memories of those times is watching the launch of Apollo 15 with his father and some colleagues from a VIP viewing section, surrounded by the likes of Robert Redford, John Denver and foreign diplomats. One of Jerry’s USGS coworkers in the stands that day was Jody Loman, a native Texan who grew up in New Mexico and earned a dual bachelor’s degree in secretarial science and secondary education. By the early 1960s, she had moved to northern Arizona and worked as a secretary at the Navajo Army Depot in Bellemont. In 1963 personnel from the Branch of Astrogeology recruited Jody to join the team but she turned them down—twice. They then tried a new tack of inviting her to their office, then operating out of a facility at the Museum of Northern Arizona. While there she noticed a shabbily dressed young man, who she took to be a maintenance person. She soon discovered he was the branch chief, Gene Shoemaker, and after a brief conversation with this energetic, captivating personality, quit her job at the depot and began working as his secretary. One of her memories of these times was when Shoemaker convinced Jack Schmitt to apply to be an astronaut in 1964. Jody typed up the application, and a year later Schmitt was named to the first group of scientist-astronauts (and Jerry Schaber lost his originally assigned boss). Like Jerry, Jody spent time at Mission Control during several of the manned moon missions. She eventually married Gordon Swann, a USGS geologist who spearheaded much of the astronaut training. He passed away several years ago, well after both he and Jody retired. Today, Jody Swann spends much of her time volunteering where her lunar labors began—at the Museum of Northern Arizona. While the names Bridges, Schaber, and Swann may not resonate with the public as much as Armstrong and Aldrin, the contributions of these talented and driven individuals were critical to breaking the bonds of our Flagstaff USGS Geologist Gene Shoemaker, training Astronauts at planet and exploring another world. Meteor Crater. (Photo courtesy of Center of Astrogeology USGS)


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Airport – they typically never traveled together so that the entire astronaut crew would not be wiped out in the event of an accident. Thus some of the astronauts arrived at 7:38 a.m. via Frontier Airlines and the others at 7:42 a.m. riding a Bonanza Airlines flight. Wednesday morning dawned very cold, and when about 40 Flagstaff dignitaries and scientists met the astronauts at the airport just after 7:30 a.m., the mercury read minus 5 degrees. Wheeler formally declared Jan. 16 as “Space Age Day” in Flagstaff and welcomed the astronauts, as well as the half dozen NASA officials that accompanied them.

NASA’s second group of pilot astronauts were (kneeling) Charles Conrad Jr., Frank Borman, Neil A. Armstrong and John W.Young; (standing) Elliot M. See Jr., James A. McDivitt, James A. Lovell Jr., Edward H. White II and Thomas P. Stafford. (NASA photo)

Astronauts Visit Flagstaff for First Time in 1963 the end of the 1960s. By Kevin Schindler The group includLowell Observatory Historian ed Neil Armstrong, Frank Building on the suc- Borman (who graduated cess of project Mercury, from Tucson High School which launched Ameri- and was the starting quarca’s first men into space terback on the school’s between 1961 and 1963, state championship footNASA announced the se- ball team in 1944), Charles lection of a second group (Pete) Conrad, Jim Lovell, of astronauts Sept. 17, Jim McDivitt, Elliot See, 1962. The goal for this Tom Stafford, Ed White group of nine pilots, and John Young. Of these known variously as the men, all but See (who died New Nine, Next Nine and in a plane crash) would fly Nifty Nine, was to help in space, with six of them develop the Gemini and traveling to the moon. Apollo programs, critical Armstrong, Conrad, and steps in meeting Presi- Young ultimately walked dent John F. Kennedy’s on the lunar surface. To not only achieve bold declaration to send men to the moon before Kennedy’s challenge but

also to gain important scientific knowledge of our celestial neighbor, the astronauts would need to familiarize themselves with the geology, geography, and other aspects of the moon. This meant the crews needed intense training to learn basic principles of observation, data collection and analysis. A good understanding of lunar cartography would also be very useful. Officials soon targeted Flagstaff – with its distinct geology analogous to that of the moon, plus the important lunar mapping going on here – as one locale for carrying out some


See the historic Clark n Telescope used for moo mapping in the 1960s | (928) 774-3358

of this scientific training. For the next several years this northern Arizona town would play a vital role in preparing astronauts to go to the moon. Flagstaff Welcomes the Next Nine Jan. 16, 1963 On Jan. 9, 1963, the Arizona Daily Sun reported that Mercury heroes John Glenn and Scott Carpenter would accompany the Next Nine on a training session in northern Arizona the following week. Traveling from NASA’s Manned Spaceflight Center (known today as the Johnson Space Center), the group planned to study geological features such as Meteor Crater, a good analog to the lunar surface. The astronauts would also learn about the lunar mapping efforts going on in Flagstaff. At Lowell Observatory, the United States Air Force’s Aeronautical Chart and Information Center rented the observatory’s 24-inch Clark Telescope to make geographic maps of the lunar surface. Observers first noted lunar surface features, and artists armed with airbrushes then rendered them into maps. Building on this effort, the newly established U.S. Geological Survey astrogeology branch in Flagstaff erected a new 30-inch telescope on Anderson Mesa, southwest of town, to create lunar geological maps. Scientists used the ACIC maps as a base and then added in geological features as observed through the new telescope. On Jan. 14, the proposed Flagstaff training session was in doubt due to winter weather that dumped snow in the area, obscuring much of the terrain that the astronauts were scheduled to study. Plus, scheduling conflicts meant that Glenn and Carpenter would not make the trip. However, that afternoon Charles Marshall of the USGS, in charge of the mapping efforts with the new 30inch telescope, surveyed the Flagstaff area and predicted that the snow would melt enough by the next day to allow training. Flagstaff officials thus prepared to greet the astronauts the following morning, with Flagstaff Mayor Rollin Wheeler and Chamber of Commerce president James Potter leading the welcoming party. The astronauts would arrive via two airplanes landing at the Flagstaff Municipal

Astronauts Study Geology, Learn About Lunar Mapping and View Through Telescopes After about 20 minutes of introductions and hand shaking, the visitors drove to their hotel rooms at the Sentry Hiway House in East Flagstaff (in later years this was run as a Travelodge; it was torn down and Walgreens now stands on the site). Here the astronauts changed out of their business suits and into weather-appropriate thermal underwear and training clothes. Loading up into a fleet of gray government vehicles, the group headed out to Meteor Crater at 9:30 a.m., where USGS astrogeologists Gene Shoemaker and Charles Marshall taught the astronauts about this, the best preserved impact crater in the world. The group then ate lunch before traveling over to Sunset Crater, where monument superintendent Russell Maham, ranger Don Morris, and geologist Bill Breed of the Museum of Northern Arizona taught the group about the geology of volcanic features. After the daytime training, Lowell director John Hall hosted dinner for about 35 people at his recently built Lowell Observatory home. The astronauts, trainers, and other dignitaries enjoyed a buffet dinner prepared by Hall’s wife Ruth. Years later Lowell astronomer Henry Giclas recalled the event, “Even though before-dinner libations were served, things started out rather stiffly with all the NASA brass on their good behavior. Then Bernice (Henry’s wife) made some smart remark about the only experience she knew about exploring the moon was when the cow jumped over it, which cracked everybody up, and the party took on a much more relaxed and informal mood.” With dinner over, the group headed over to Lowell’s ACIC office. For the next hour, scientists briefed the astronauts on lunar geography and geology, as well as the ACIC’s mapping efforts of the moon and Mars. Some of the participating officials included Lowell director Hall, Lowell ACIC office head Bill Cannell, retired Lowell astronomer Earl Slipher, ACIC artist Patricia Bridges, Gene Shoemaker, and James Smith of ACIC’s St. Louis office. At midnight the contingent broke up into three groups for telescope viewing. See, White, and McDivitt stayed at Lowell to use the Clark 24inch Telescope. Borman, Stafford, and Armstrong, who ended up being the commanders of the first three manned missions to the moon, went to Arizona State College (today known as Northern Arizona University) to use its 24-inch reflector, while Navy men Lovell, Conrad, and Young headed to the U.S. Naval Observatory and its 40-inch reflector. Seeing conditions were not great but adequate, and the observers

saw Mars and the moon among other celestial objects. In viewing the moon, they correlated lunar features to the terrestrial ones they had seen in the field at Meteor Crater and Sunset Crater. Henry Giclas, on hand at Lowell’s Clark Telescope, recalled one of the astronauts remarking, “and this is where we are going,” as he viewed the moon. Some of the astronauts finished telescope viewing by 2:30 a.m., the others not until 3:30 a.m. They then went back to their rooms and slept for four hours. As Conrad commented, “one thing you can say for the space program, it has invented the 26 hour day.” Lovell, Borman, and Conrad Meet with Local Students In the morning the astronauts headed over to Arizona State College for classroom geology and geography training by Shoemaker and college astronomer Art Adel. After this briefing, six of the astronauts headed over to the airport where, at the request of the Chamber of Commerce, they each left their handprints in cake cans filled with cement. The USGS Flagstaff office retains possession of these mementos. Several Flagstaff dignitaries, including Chamber president Potter, Councilman Peter Lindemann and public works director Art Kennedy bid the astronauts farewell before the spacemen flew back to Houston aboard the noon Frontier Airlines flight. The other three astronauts stayed in Flagstaff for several more hours to ski and talk with students. At 11:50 a.m., just before their colleagues flew out of Flagstaff, Borman, Lovell, and Conrad headed to Flagstaff High School and were greeted by Mayor Wheeler and School Superintendent Wilfred Killip. The astronauts then talked for about 30 minutes to 1,900 junior and senior high students and teachers who gathered in the gym. The students madly cheered as each astronaut was introduced and two young ladies even fainted when Borman was announced. A half an hour later, the trio went to City Hall to make their own handprints before eating lunch at The Gables Restaurant (located at the intersection of Milton Road and Rt. 66 and later run as Lu Mandarin Buffet). Lovell, wanting to learn more about Sunset Crater geology, then headed back to the crater with Gene Shoemaker before joining the others and going to Arizona Snowbowl with Potter and Chamber past-president Paul Weaver. They didn’t have a chance to ski, but they did ride up the new chairlift on Agassiz Peak and enjoyed a grand view of the surrounding cinder cone-splattered landscape. They spent one and a half hours at Snowbowl before heading back to town. That night, at about 7 p.m., the astronauts went over to Arizona State College and spoke to about 900 students and local residents at the Student Union auditorium. They then answered questions for about 15 minutes, shook hands with President J. Lawrence Walkup, and then headed over to the airport where Mayor Wheeler, Potter, and City Clerk Harry Field bid them adieu prior to their 8 p.m. Frontier flight back to Houston. Through the ensuing years, Flagstaff would welcome the Next Nine and other astronauts back to Flagstaff for in-depth geology training, instrument testing, and other training necessary to fly to the moon.

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6 – Sunday, June 10, 2018

“… it will not be one man going to th moon … it will be an entire nation. Fo all of us must work to put him there. —President John F. Kennedy to Congress May

Astronaut Harrison “Jack” Schmitt was the first astronaut-scientist to walk on the moon. (Photo courtesy of NASA)

Celebration at Mission Control Center in Houston, July 20, 1969. (Photo courtesy of NASA)

Flagstaff Moon Training Timeline 1961 The Aeronautical Chart and Information Center, a branch of the U.S. Air Force, establishes an office at Lowell Observatory to map the moon. 1963 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.

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. 1964 The USGS purchases a 30-inch telescope for its own moon mapping efforts. Their

of NASA spacesuits are carried out at Bonito Lava Flow at Sunset Crater.

geologic maps were used for selecting landing sites.

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.

1965 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 first field tests

Geologist Harrison

“Jack” Schmitt, working at the USGS astrogeology branch in Flagstaff, is chosen to the fourth class of astronauts. 1966 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


Sunday, June 10, 2018 – 7

he or .”

26, 1961

Astronaut Harrison “Jack” Schmitt. (Photo courtesy of NASA)

A lunar map from Apollo 16

Members of Apollo 15 crew train at Cinder Lake. (Photo courtesy of Center of Astrogeology USGS)

An astronaut walks the moon on the final Apollo mission in 1972. (NASA photos)

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

field on the Navajo reservation. 1967 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. 1968 The USGS constructs a second cra-

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

1969 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.

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.

Wire produced by W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc. in Flagstaff was part of the Apollo 11 seismographic equipment used on the lunar surface.

1971 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.” 1972 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.


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of the graphics are dated and the narration cheesy, “Magnificent Desolation” was pretty cool when it was released, providing a “you are there” feeling of the stark landscape of the moon. “From the Earth to the Moon” (1998) This Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning HBO miniseries, produced by Tom Hanks, Ron Howard, and Brian Grazer, takes a semi-fictional look at the space program from a variety of directors and perspectives. With 12 episodes delving into everything from political messaging and press coverage to geology and the experience of the astronauts’ wives, it is not until Episode 6, “Mare Tranquilitatis,” that we get to the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, but it’s worth the wait. A scene from “Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D”

Moon Mission Movies ‘First Man’ launches this fall In October, Universal Pictures brings to theaters the riveting story of NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon. “First Man” focusses on astronaut Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 mission from 1961 to 1969. Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling, as Armstrong, reteam for the drama following their six-time Academy Award-winning smash, “La La Land.” Written by Academy Award winner Josh Singer (“Spotlight,” “The Post”), “First Man” is produced by Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen (“The Twilight Saga,” “The Fault in Our Stars”) through their Temple Hill Entertainment banner, alongside Chazelle and Gosling. Based on the Armstrong biography by James Hansen, the movie centers on the adventure and nail-biting moments of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. “This is 100 percent a mission movie. It’s about going to the moon as seen through the eyes of the guy who got there,” Singer told the Boston Globe in April. “We have at least five major set pieces that are action, and if your heart rate doesn’t go through the roof, if you’re not gripping the edge of your seat the entire time, I’ll be shocked.”

Other films worth a look By Dan Stoffel July 20, 1969, was definitely a giant leap for mankind. I was five years old, so don’t claim to remember it well, but later I enjoyed listening to my Dad’s reelto-reel tapes of the Apollo 11 launch and landing. Fortunately, there are some excellent films and television related to the mission and the Apollo program; here are some of my favorites: “For All Mankind” (1989) Nominated for the 1990 Best Documentary Oscar, director Al Reinert’s stunning account of the entire Apollo moon-landing program was created from hundreds of miles of NASA footage that had been

tucked away in the administration’s archives. With music by avant-garde musician Brian Eno, “For All Mankind” includes narration from several of the astronauts, and provides impressive visuals of the lunar adventures, woven together to let us experience one mission from start to finish. “Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D” (2005) Not just in IMAX format, but IMAX 3D! This star-studded film is narrated by co-producer and co-writer Tom Hanks and also stars the voiceover talent of Bryan Cranston, Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, Paul Newman, and many more as we join astronauts, via re-enactment, on the surface of the moon. Though some

“In the Shadow of the Moon” (2007) Full of refreshingly frank interviews from Apollo astronauts such as Buzz Aldrin, Jim Lovell, and Alan Bean, this documentary combines spectacular footage with insightful stories and opinions from the people who lit those candles. “Mare Tranquillitatis in Flagstaff, Arizona” (1967) This 12-minute short film, complete with classic 1960’s educational film narration and music, chronicles the reproduction, in Cinder Lake near Flagstaff, of a 10-acre section of the moon to be used as a training ground for Apollo astronauts. Scientists painstakingly duplicate the surface and craters of the moon using explosives. Beloved local photographer John Running, who passed away in January, filmed and edited the movie. You can watch “Mare Tranquillitatis” online at making-craters.

“The Dish” (2000) I ran across this charming little movie a few years ago on television. Based on a true story, “The Dish” tells the story of a radio telescope crew in rural Australia. Though just a backup to other radio telescopes that will receive and relay signals from the 1969 moon landing, the scientists, politicians, sheep farmers, and other locals are nonetheless excited to be a part of history. When circumstances conspire to make the installation’s work much more vital than expected, we get to see how the casual Australians and their more uptight American counterparts deal with the historic event. The wonderful Sam Neill stars. Honorable Mentions: Though the films and series above deal, at least in part, with the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, some other moon-related movies are not to be missed. “The Right Stuff” (1983) is the epic adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s look at the Mercury 7 astronauts. “Apollo 13” (1995), directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks and Ed Harris, is the thrilling story of the lunar landing mission that went terribly wrong. “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968), Stanley Kubrick’s sprawling adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke’s novel, features remarkable special effects, with a shocking discovery on the moon that propels the rest of the story. Finally, Sam Rockwell shows off his acting chops in “Moon” (2009), Duncan Jones’ directorial debut about a lunar miner who has to deal with the isolation of spending three years all alone on the dark side of the moon.

the moon, from Every astronaut who walked on prepared for his Neil Armstrong to Gene Cernan, book captures the journey in northern Arizona. This ing images from spirit of these pioneers with stunn and others. NASA, the US Geological Survey,

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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.


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Race to the Moon: Apollo 11 meets Kennedy challenge

(Photo courtesy of NASA)

President John F. Kennedy’s challenge to put a man on the moon before the end of the 1960s came in 1961 after Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin beat U.S. astronaut Alan Shepard as the first human in space. It was a three-week gap between their flights; the Space Race took on new urgency. It’s now the morning of July 16, 1969. Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins sit atop Saturn V at Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The three-stage 363-foot rocket will use its 7.5 million pounds of thrust to propel them into space and into history. At 9:32 a.m., the engines fire and Apollo 11 clears the tower. About 12 minutes later, the crew is in Earth orbit. After one and a half orbits, Apollo 11 gets a “go” for what mission controllers call “translunar injection.” In other words, it’s

time to head for the moon. Three days later the crew is in lunar orbit. A day after that, Armstrong and Aldrin climb into the lunar module Eagle and begin the descent, while Collins orbits in the command module Columbia. Collins later writes that Eagle is “the weirdest looking contraption I have ever seen in the sky,” but it will prove its worth. When it comes time to set Eagle down in the Sea of Tranquility, Armstrong improvises, manually piloting the ship past an area littered with boulders. During the final seconds of descent, Eagle’s computer is sounding alarms. It turns out to be a simple case of the computer trying to do too many things at once, but as Aldrin will later point out, “unfortunately it came up when we did not want to be trying to solve these particular problems.” When the lunar module lands at 4:18 p.m. EDT, only 30 seconds of fuel re-

main. Armstrong radios “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” Mission control erupts in celebration as the tension breaks, and a controller tells the crew, “You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue, we’re breathing again.” Armstrong will later confirm that landing was his biggest concern, saying “the unknowns were rampant,” and “there were just a thousand things to worry about.” At 10:56 p.m. EDT, Armstrong is ready to plant the first human foot on another world. With more than half a billion people watching on television, he climbs down the ladder and proclaims: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Aldrin joins him shortly, and offers a simple but powerful description of the lunar surface: “mag-

(Photo courtesy of NASA)

nificent desolation.” They explore the surface for two and a half hours, collecting samples and taking photographs. They leave behind an American flag, a patch honoring the fallen Apollo 1 crew, and a plaque on one of Eagle’s legs. It reads, “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.” Armstrong and Aldrin blast off and dock with Col-

lins in Columbia. Collins later says that “for the first time,” he “really felt that we were going to carry this thing off.” The crew splashes down off Hawaii on July 24; Kennedy’s challenge met. Men from Earth have walked on the moon and returned safely home. In an interview years later, Armstrong praises the “hundreds of thousands” of people behind the project. “Every guy that’s setting up the tests, cranking the torque wrench, and so on, is saying, man or woman, ‘If anything goes wrong here, it’s not go-






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ing to be my fault.’” In a post-flight press conference, Armstrong calls the flight “a beginning of a new age,” while Collins talks about future journeys to Mars. Over the next three and a half years, 10 astronauts follow in their footsteps. Gene Cernan, commander of the last Apollo mission, leaves the lunar surface with these words: “We leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace, and hope for all mankind.” (Edited with material provided by NASA.)


Continued from Page 1 staff Convention and Visitors Bureau. Following is a partial listing of Flagstaff AZ Lunar Legacy events and happenings through 2019. Lunar Legacy Launch This free event features guests speakers, activities for kids, historic videos and tribute concert with Planet Sandwich and Lucky Lenny. July 20, 2018, 5 p.m. Orpheum Theater, 15 W. Aspen Ave. (928) 556-1580

Exhibits Lunar Legacy Art Installations Three separate exhibits about Flagstaff’s dark skies, lunar legacy and history of heavenly exploration. Dates and times to come. Coconino Community College, 2800 S. Lone Tree Road (928) 226-4363 Moon Art Exhibit Moon art by local elementary & secondary school students. Dates and times to come. Brandy’s Restaurant, 1500 E. Cedar Ave. Lunar Station Photo Exhibit Banners, lunar videos, kids programs—make a papier mâché moon. July 2019 through December 2019 Flagstaff City-Coconino County Public Library Main, 300 W. Aspen Ave. 2001 Space Odyssey/ Frank Poole Exhibit July 2018, regular hours Flagstaff City-Coconino County Public Library Main Moon-themed Exhibit August 2018, regular hours Flagstaff City-Coconino County Public Library East, 3000 N. Fourth St.

Lowell’s Lunar Legacy Exhibit Lunar mapping and astronaut training at Lowell in the 1960s. June 2018-July 2019, regular hours/regular admission Lowell Observatory, 1400 W. Mars Hill Road (928) 233-3211 Online Moon Mapping Exhibit Moon mapping efforts at Lowell in the 1960s. July 2018-December 2020 Photography Exhibit Images from the U.S. Geological Survey’s astrogeology center. Starts July 1, 2019, regular hours/regular admission Museum of Northern Arizona, 3101 N. Fort Valley Road (928) 774-5211 Astronaut Photography Exhibit Astronaut training as well as historic and modern moon research in northern Arizona. November 2018-September 2019 Cline Library at NAU, 1001 S. Knoles Drive (928) 523-2173 /library Photography Exhibit Historic images of astronaut training and other efforts supporting moon missions. Flagstaff Pulliam Airport, 6200 S. Pulliam Drive (928) 556-1234

Lectures & Events Lunar Lecture Series This Flagstaff Festival of Science series provides a year-and-a-half of insights into the historical impact of the Apollo missions, Flagstaff’s role in supporting the pioneering endeavors and the continued world-class

space research occurring in Arizona. Held the second Wednesday of each month starting Aug. 8, 2018, at Coconino Community College, Lone Tree campus. Visit for details. U.S. Naval Observatory, Series of lectures and events celebrating the Navy Astronauts. go to Lunar Legacy at Lowell Presentation and tour of facilities used for moon mapping and astronaut training at Lowell Observatory. June 1, 2018 through July 31, 2019. Presentation and Book Signing Kevin Schindler and Bill Sheehan will speak and sign copies of their book “Northern Arizona Space Training” at Lowell Observatory. Call (928) 233-3211 for details. Asteroid Day Open House June 30, 2018. Meteor Crater Visitor Center in Winslow (928) 289-5898. Astronaut Training Lecture David King will describe Apollo-era astronaut training at Meteor Crater. Oct. 4, 2018, 7:00 p.m. Meteor Crater Visitor Center in Winslow Other Events Lunar Robotics Demonstrations August-October 2018. Coconino High School, 3285 E. Sparrow Ave. (928) 527-6004 Milky Way Night Photography A talk and interactive activity. June 8 and 9, 2018, 7 p.m. Meteor Crater Visitor Center, Meteor Crater Road,

Sunday, June 10, 2018 – 11

Winslow $50 per person (928) 289-5898

NAU Campus Observatory, on Facebook as NAU Observatory or physics.nau.ed

Dinner and Movie “Starman” September 28, 2018. Call (928) 289-5898 for details. Meteor Crater Visitor Center

Sunset Crater,

Sharks in Space Start-up Pitch Competition Budding entrepreneurs will vie for cash and prizes with the chance to bring their business ideas to the marketplace. Feb. 22-23, 2019. MoonShot at NACET, 2225 N. Gemini Drive (818) 399-8066 U.S. Geological Survey Open House Featuring Grover the Rover. Dates and times to come. USGS, 2255 N. Gemini Drive

Hikes Guided Hike of Cinder Lake Crater Field 1 Hike the simulated crater field created by explosives and used for astronaut training and instrument testing. Coconino National Forest. For dates and times, visit Sunset Crater Guided Hike Guided hike of astronaut training areas. For dates and times, visit sucr or call (928) 522-4380.

Lowell Observatory,

Entertainment & Arts Moon Globe Ornaments Glasswork by Flagstaff artist George Averbeck at Arizona Handmade Gallery, 12 N. San Francisco St., Suite 100 (928) 779-3790 Crescent Moon Bottle Openers Flagstaff blacksmith Joshua Meyer creates moon bottle openers and keychains. (915) 274-7563 “First Man” Movie Apollo 11 feature film stars Ryan Gosling as astronaut Neil Armstrong. October 2018 Harkins Flagstaff, 4751 E. Marketplace Drive (928) 233-3005 “2001 Space Odyssey” Movie Showing during Movies on the Square July 21, 2018, 7:30 p.m. Heritage Square in Flagstaff

Special Movie Series Dates and times to come. Orpheum Theatre, 15 W. Aspen Ave. Special Bowling Package Dates and times to come. Starlite Lanes, 3406 Route 66.

Food & Drink Flagstaff restaurants and bars offering moon-themed dishes and drinks. Karma Sushi, 6 E. Route 66 Annex Cocktail Lounge, 50 S. San Francisco St. Tinderbox, 34 S. San Francisco St. Late for the Train, 22 E. Birch Ave. and 1800 Fort Valley Road Single Speed Coffee Café, 2 S. Beaver St. Dark Sky Brewery, 117 N. Beaver St. Carmels, 116 S. San Francisco St. Diablo Burger, 120 N. Leroux St. The Sweet Shop, 15 E. Aspen Ave.

Telescope Viewing Observatories in Flagstaff will mark Lunar Legacy with special viewing opportunities. Visit websites for details. FUSD Walker Observatory at De Miguel Elementary School,

For up-to-date information and events, go to

Flagstaff Unified School District is proud to celebrate

Flagstaff’s Lunar Legacy

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Incorporating STEM education in our curriculum every day in every class.


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Flagstaff 50th Anniversary of Lunar Landing Celebration  

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