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Astrogeology Open House draws a good crowd

July 24, 2019

On July 19, 2019, the USGS Astrogeology Science Center hosted an Open House to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the July 20, 1969 Apollo 11 lunar landing. The event drew an impressive turnout from the surrounding communities.


Mary (Elise) Rumpf, speaker at Astrogeology Open House
Mary (Elise) Rumpf, one of the entertaining speakers at Open House.  Photo: Courtesy of Lisa Gaddis who also presented on Grover.

During regular business hours, the doors of Astrogeology are opened to the public, but people attending the Open House were given a special behind-the-scenes look at some of Astro’s historic accomplishments during the Apollo era, as well as the exciting work we are doing today in support of the ongoing successful investigation of the Solar System for humankind.  


Flagstaff and Astrogeology have always had an incredible bond, but it was wonderful to have so many visitors come help us celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 and the role that Astrogeology played in the Apollo missions. It was special to hear that so many visitors comment on how impressed they were with the work we continue to do,” Science Center Director, Dr. Justin Hagerty said.


Family-friendly talks:

Scientists gave talks on interesting topics such as the local crater fields that NASA and the USGS created to train the astronauts for Apollo missions; Grover the geologic rover, currently exhibited in Astro’s lobby, and used to train Apollo 15-17 astronauts at the Cinder Lakes training ground near Flagstaff and other practice grounds; a talk on the legacy of the Apollo missions,  including a special guest from Lowell Observatory sharing stories of their role in the Apollo Missions. These talks were full for all sessions.



Ryan Anderson (the event’s coordinator) and Brent Archinal led tours every half-hour through Astro’s hallway, answering questions about the exhibits featured of which some highlighted giant photographs of the solar system (and awed their observers),  3-D images of Digital Elevation Models, planetary photos of works related to the geology of the southwest, national parks and more.   




Celebrating the Moon Landing at Astrogeology
Children and adults having a great time doing activities in Astrogeology Center for Exploration (the Ace Room) which was our former library space. Photo: Courtesy of Lisa Gaddis.

Even sweeter, Astro’s guests were welcome to indulge in space-related treats such as limited edition Moon themed Oreos, Moon Pies, and the drink astronauts made famous, good old Tang.

To learn more about our role in the Apollo Program, you can visit our Lunar Legacy page. The photographs and images featured there highlight our contributions and provide a new perspective on NASA’s Apollo Program and the wealth of scientific data those missions returned to Earth.

Astrogeology thanks everyone who came to the celebration of this historic moment in time.



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