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Full Coverage: NASA honoring astronauts, others with moon rocks

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Ambassadors of Exploration Photo Gallery

Gene Cernan
May 12, 2005
Pensacola, Florida
Thomas Stafford
July 12, 2005
Weatherford, Oklahoma
John Young
July 20, 2005
Houston, Texas
Walt Cunningham
October 7, 2005
Dallas, Texas
Wally Schirra
November 16, 2005
San Diego, California
Richard Gordon
November 19, 2005
Seattle, Washington
Vance Brand
January 21, 2006
Longmont, Colorado
Ed Mitchell
February 5, 2006
West Palm Beach, Florida
Stuart Roosa
February 9, 2006
Titusville, Florida
Michael Collins
February 9, 2006
Garden City, New York
John Glenn
February 20, 2006
Columbus, Ohio
Deke Slayton
February 22, 2006
Sparta, Wisconsin
Walter Cronkite
February 28, 2006
Austin, Texas
Buzz Aldrin
March 25, 2006
Los Angeles, California
Neil Armstrong
April 18, 2006
Cincinnati, Ohio
Charlie Duke
May 8, 2006
St. Petersburg, Florida
Frank Borman
May 8, 2006
Tucson, Arizona
Christopher Kraft
September 30, 2006
Blacksburg, Virginia
James McDivitt
October 6, 2006
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Virgil "Gus" Grissom
September 28, 2007
Orlando, Florida
Roger Chaffee
October 6, 2007
West Lafayette, Indiana
Donn Eisele
October 23, 2007
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Jack Swigert
May 23, 2008
Denver, Colorado
Thomas Mattingly
March 26, 2009
Auburn, Alabama
James Lovell
April 3, 2009
Lexington Park, Maryland
John F. Kennedy
July 20, 2009
Washington, DC
Al Worden
July 30, 2009
Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Fred Haise
December 2, 2009
Biloxi, Mississippi
Alan Shepard
April 28, 2011
Annapolis, Maryland

Astronauts, Cronkite to receive moon rocks

July 16, 2004 — In order to recognize the sacrifices and dedication of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts, each will be presented a moon rock as part of a special ceremony honoring the 35th anniversary of Apollo 11 on Tuesday night at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

The moon rocks to be awarded are each part of sample returned by the Apollo 17 mission from the Taurus Littrow Valley. Each will be encased in an acrylic sphere and attached to a plaque bearing images of a Saturn V rocket launch, an astronaut (John Young) jumping on the Moon, the planet Mars and the International Space Station.

The lunar samples will remain the property of NASA, but the astronauts and their surviving families, in coordination with NASA, will select a museum or other educational institution where their awards will be publicly displayed in their name to help inspire a new generation of explorers.

The award celebrates the "realization of a vision" for exploration first articulated by President John F. Kennedy in May 1961, when NASA's fledgling human space flight program had little more than 15 minutes of space flight experience. In addition to the moon rocks, each of the 34 astronauts (nine now deceased) will be named by NASA as "Ambassadors of Exploration".

Among the honorees will also be Walter Cronkite, the only non-astronaut selected as an Ambassador of Exploration. Millions experienced the early years of space exploration through the Cronkite's news reports. During the Apollo 11 mission, Cronkite was on the air for 27 of the 30 hours it took for Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to complete their work on the lunar surface.

As Ambassadors of Exploration, the recipients will help NASA communicate the benefits and excitement of space exploration and "why the continuing investment in our future is vital to the security and vitality of America."

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Quick Look
Where NASA's Ambassador of Exploration moon rock awards are on display

Alan Shepard   U.S. Naval Academy Museum
Annapolis, MD (4.28.11)
Gus Grissom   Walt Disney World Resort: Epcot
Orlando, FL (9.28.07)
John Glenn   John Glenn Institute of Public Service and Public Policy
Columbus, OH (2.20.06)
Scott Carpenter   Denver Museum of Nature and Science Denver, CO (11.10.07)
Wally Schirra   San Diego Aerospace Museum
San Diego, CA (11.16.05)
Gordon Cooper   TBA
John Young   Museum of Natural Science
Houston, TX (7.20.05)
Jim McDivitt   University of Michigan College of Engineering
Ann Arbor, MI (10.06.06)
Edward White   TBA
Pete Conrad   The Museum of Flight
Seattle, WA (11.18.06)
Frank Borman   Pima Air and Space Museum
Tucson, AZ (5.08.06)
James Lovell   Patuxent River Naval Air Museum
Lexington Park, MD (4.03.09)
Tom Stafford   Stafford Air and Space Museum
Weatherford, OK (7.12.05)
Neil Armstrong   Cincinnati Museum Center
Cincinnati, OH (4.18.06)
David Scott   Science Museum
London, England (TBA)
Gene Cernan   National Museum of Naval Aviation
Pensacola, FL (5.12.05)
Michael Collins   Cradle of Aviation Museum
Garden City, NY (2.09.06)
Dick Gordon   The Museum of Flight
Seattle, WA (11.19.05)
Buzz Aldrin   California Science Center
Los Angeles, CA (3.25.06)
Roger Chaffee   Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering, Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN (10.06.07)
Donn Eisele   Broward Public Library
Ft. Lauderdale, FL (10.23.07)
Walt Cunningham   Frontiers of Flight Museum
Dallas, TX (10.7.05)
Bill Anders   TBA
Rusty Schweickart   TBA
Alan Bean   TBA
Fred Haise   Gorenflo Elementary School
Biloxi, MS (12.02.09)
Jack Swigert   Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum
Denver, CO (5.23.08)
Stuart Roosa   U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame
Titusville, FL (2.09.06)
Ed Mitchell   South Florida Science Museum
West Palm Beach, FL (2.05.06)
Jim Irwin   TBA
Al Worden   Apollo/Saturn V Center
Kennedy Space Center, FL (7.30.09)
Ken Mattingly   Auburn University
Auburn, AL (3.26.09)
Charlie Duke   Admiral Farragut Academy
St. Petersburg, FL (5.08.06)
Ronald Evans   TBA
Harrison Schmitt   TBA
Deke Slayton   Deke Slayton Memorial Space & Bike Museum
Sparta, WI (2.22.06)
Vance Brand   Museum & Cultural Center
Longmont, CO (1.21.06)
Walter Cronkite   Center for American History
Austin, TX (2.28.06)
Chris Kraft   Virginia Tech University College of Engineering
Blacksburg, VA (9.30.06)
Gene Kranz   Central Catholic High School
Toledo, OH (12.6.07)
John F. Kennedy   Fondren Library, Rice University
Houston, TX (7.20.09)