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Purdue celebrates Neil Armstrong as Moon walk turns 50

NASA graphic of planned technology going to Mars

Mars could be the next “giant leap for mankind”

I can’t believe it has been 50 years since I heard the words from a television set of a family friend, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Millions of viewers, along with my family, watched with excitement on July 20, 1969 as Neil Armstrong first stepped foot onto the moon. Anyone who experienced that monumental event can tell you where they were at the time. 

Before this 50th anniversary was publicized, I didn’t know that astronaut Neil Armstrong was a Purdue alumnus.  What an honor to be the first man to step on the moon.  Armstrong, along with command module pilot Buzz Aldrin, spent several hours walking on the moon, collecting rocks and photographing the historic event. With a short drive, you are able to view some of that collection at Purdue University which is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s historic flight with a series of events July 18-20.

Known as the “Cradle of Astronauts,” Purdue will celebrate the moon landing with a presentation by Apollo 11’s flight director, showings of a new documentary “ARMSTRONG” featuring home videos shot by Armstrong and unseen footage from NASA, children’s activities and various panels featuring space authors and others who knew Armstrong or worked on the Apollo 11 mission.  

You may have noticed that our summer reading focus is A Universe of Stories and we certainly have lots to read or view regarding space. One title that caught my eye was Astronuts : space jokes and riddles. You can find light hearted humor to serious study like Frontiers of space exploration by Roger D. Launius here your library. We really do have a Universe of Stories!

If you enter space in the website’s search bar, you will discover Jasper County Public Library has 2,194 items about space. However if you want to narrow that down to the next place people are planning to travel to in the next 25 years, you will find 463 items about Mars.

Last summer, NASA chief scientist Jim Green announced plans to send someone to the Red Planet by 2040. However there is lots for science to develop in the intervening years. It is estimated that the trip to Mars alone will take a year’s time.  When technology is available to safely send a team to Mars, staying there for any length of time will also be challenging with extreme weather conditions, dust storms and unknowns about farming and infrastructure possibilities there.  NASA has its work cut out for it, but imagine, people living in 2040 could see a similar transmission to Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk only then showing the first man on Mars!

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