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  6. Special activities to celebrate Apollo 50!

Special activities to celebrate Apollo 50!


OTTAWA, July 18, 2019 – The Canadian Museum of Nature is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first manned lunar landing with exciting activities that include a visit by an astronaut; a giant, suspended moon, and real moon rock on display!

“The Apollo 11 lunar landing and moon walk represented an amazing milestone in human progress and exploration,” says President and CEO Meg Beckel. “It’s fitting for us as a natural history museum to celebrate the moon; it controls the ebb and flow of our oceans through tides, and it’s visible to the naked eye, a reminder that our planet is part of a larger universe.” 

The Moon at the Museum activities are supported by the United States Embassy in Ottawa.

“When U.S. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the Moon nearly 50 years ago, Canadian-made legs on the lunar landing module helped facilitate their safe arrival,” said U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft. “The United States Embassy in Ottawa is delighted to celebrate this milestone in the history of U.S.-Canada space cooperation by supporting Moon at the Museum. Cooperation that continues today through Canada’s commitment to NASA’s Lunar Gateway Program.  Canada’s expertise, including its talent in robotics and artificial intelligence will be critical as we work together to return to the Moon by 2024.”

Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut Jeremy Hansen will be at the Museum on both July 18 and on July 20 to speak about Canada’s involvement in space exploration. At the free talk on July 18 (7 pm), he’ll be joined by Kate Howells, science communicator with The Planetary Society. On July 20—the anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s and Buzz Aldrin’s historic walk on the moon—Hansen will give brief talk at 12:40 pm. Then he and the audience in the Museum’s theatre will watch a live YouTube chat between CSA astronaut David St-Jacques and former astronaut Bob Thirsk.

Visitors will also have the chance on July 20 to chat with scientists about botany in space and moon geology, see meteorite specimens up close and discover STEM initiatives such as Tomatosphere to engage students in science. These activities will take place right under the newly suspended giant moon in the Queens’ Lantern. Designed by British artist Luke Jerram and seven metres in diameter, the Museum of the Moon is only one of five in the world!

A new exhibit in the Museum’s Earth Gallery showcases a real moon rock from the 1972 Apollo 17 mission— the last time humans set foot on the moon! Astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt collected what became to be known as the Goodwill Moon Rock from the Taurus Valley of the Moon. It was later divided and presented to 135 countries around the world. 

The museum’s Goodwill Moon Rock is charcoal-coloured lunar basalt and about one centimetre wide. It’s encased in a plexiglass sphere mounted on a wooden plaque adorned with a Canadian flag and an inscription that reads: “Presented to the people of Canada / From the people of the United States of America / Richard Nixon / 1973.”

“The geology of the moon is fascinating because it gives us a chance to look at the planet-forming process in the early solar system,” says Glenn Poirier, geologist at the Canadian Museum of Nature. “Because the moon is so small, it cooled relatively quickly and preserved its early history. Bigger planets like Venus, Earth and Mars, developed plate tectonics to some degree and erased the record of their formation. On Earth, rocks older than 3 billion years are exceedingly rare; on the moon there is almost nothing younger than 3 billion years.” 

A must-see is the stunning exhibition, Michael Benson’s Otherworlds: Visions of our Solar System. It presents 41 spectacular images of celestial bodies, including amazing ones of the moon. Accompanying the show, which runs until September 2, is a soundscape called “Deep Space,” produced specifically for Otherworlds by British ambient-music composer Brian Eno.

Visit nature.ca for details about the events. Follow for the hashtag #MoonattheMuseum on these social media channels: Twitter (@museumofnature) and Instagram (museumofnature). Follow the museum on facebook.com/Canadianmuseumofnature. The Canadian Museum of Nature is located at 240 McLeod Street in Ottawa.


About the Canadian Museum of Nature

Saving the world through evidence, knowledge, and inspiration! The Canadian Museum of Nature is Canada's national museum of natural history and natural sciences. The museum provides evidence-based insights, inspiring experiences and meaningful engagement with nature's past, present and future. It achieves this through scientific research, a 14.6 million specimen collection, education programs, signature and travelling exhibitions, and a dynamic web site, nature.ca.


Media contact:
Laura Sutin
Media Relations
Canadian Museum of Nature