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MEDIA ADVISORY: 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing

July 11, 2019

Fifty years ago, on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first two human beings to land on the moon. The University of Wisconsin–Madison offers several media opportunities in light of the anniversary.

  • On Saturday, July 13, 2019 from 10 a.m. until noon, Saturday Science at Discovery is hosting an Apollo 11 anniversary celebration featuring actual moon rocks collected during the Apollo missions (on loan from NASA’s Johnson Space Center); a virtual reality experience with the IceCube Neutrino Observatory; presentations about extraterrestrial farming from UW–Madison’s “astrobotanist,” Simon Gilroy; hands-on PBS content involving educators from Wisconsin Public Television; and several stations related to astronomy, rocketry and engineering. Saturday Science at Discovery is a monthly series held in the Town Center of the Discovery Building located at 330 N. Orchard St., Madison, Wisconsin 53715. Learn more at Contact: Wesley Marner, program and lab manager for the Morgridge Institute for Research, 608-316-4716,
  • The University of Wisconsin–Madison Geology Museum, 1215 W. Dayton St., is home to several Apollo 11-related initiatives and collections. Museum Curator Carrie Eaton can share lunar meteorites that have fallen to Earth, including a small slice of a lunar meteorite that includes glass spherules formed from the impact that created the moon’s Mare Imbrium, one of the largest craters found in our solar system. The museum also has a set of replica Apollo moon rocks originally commissioned by NASA.

Eaton can discuss an outreach project of the museum called Holding Space, where representatives from the museum and the UW–Madison Department of Geoscience visited senior citizen centers around the state to talk about the Apollo mission. They shared lunar rocks and talked about geology and astrobiology, which concerns the study of life in the universe. Senior citizens were hosted at the museum for an astrobiology-themed tour and with permission, the museum also recorded their Apollo mission memories.  Contact: Carrie Eaton, curator of collections, 608-262-1412,

  • James Lattis, director of UW Space Place, can discuss the history of the Apollo 11 landing and what it meant for astronomy and space exploration. Beginning Sunday, July 14 and extending through Saturday, July 20 (weather permitting) UW Space Place will host free public observing of the night sky, in honor of the anniversary, from 9 p.m. until 11 p.m. at Washburn Observatory, 1401 Observatory Dr. To learn more about the observatory, visit Contact: James Lattis, 608-263-0360,
  • Wednesday Nite at the Lab will focus its July 17 session on “The Next Giant Leap: Apollo and life sciences research for the journey to Mars” featuring Jaime Cordova, a graduate student in genetics and a NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory solar system ambassador. The event runs from 7 to 8:15 p.m. in Room 1111, 425 Henry Mall.