Posts: 629 From: Syracuse, New York, USA Registered: Oct 2009
posted 04-06-2019 07:59 AM
A couple of weeks ago I decided to head over to the National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall to see what was being drummed up for the HUGE 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 and man's first attempt to walk on the moon. To my surprise, there was very little advertisement or excitement regarding this historical event that is a mere 3.5 months away. In fact other than the ads for the one week showing of Apollo 11 in IMAX and some t-shirts at the gift shop, there wasn't anything that I noticed.
Additionally, due to whatever funding and timelines, the poor execution in my opinion to launch a massive renovation project that closes a large part of the museum to including the Apollo gallery just torques me as tad. I understand how budgets and timelines work as being in the military I learned that on a everyday basis. Additionally, I also learned a term called "backwards planning" in order to execute on time for a particular event. In this case, management failed to find a way to execute this properly (again my opinion and not fact).
It seems that Apollo 40 will be the last big celebrated event for this historic period in mankind's history. Maybe its because since then, we've lost several Apollo area astronauts including Neil Armstrong. Maybe another reason was at the 40th anniversary, the shuttle was flying, we just completed the last Hubble servicing mission and other factors of the time.
I feel there is a lack of celebrated buildup that should be happening and advertised all year long. Instead there are small pockets of excitement (i.e. the Apollo 11 film, First Man, the recent wall display case that looks like something you would see at your high school of Apollo 11 artifacts), but then it quickly fades away.
Going back to my original point, I'm saddened by what should be highly publicized announcements surrounding Apollo 11 and the 50th Anniversary. I just hope when the United States of America celebrates it 250th birthday some seven years from now in 2026, the National Archives doesn't decide that it would be appropriate to renovate the facility and make the Declaration of Independence unavailable to the public. The fact that Apollo 11 Command Module, "Columbia" is on a roadshow and won't be back in our nation's capital as it has been for the previous major anniversary dates also bums me.
Again, these are just my views on what seems to be a lack of interest both in the celebrated events surrounding Apollo and within the space collecting community. Is the appreciation and hobby dying with the times of those who cared as newer generations are lost in social media, social political events or other distractions? I don't know, but only hope to see some excitement being generated soon and this is historic. A lot more than the recent news headlines over spacesuit "malfunctions" (i.e. proper sizes ready for EVA use).
Robert Pearlman Editor
Posts: 41389 From: Houston, TX Registered: Nov 1999
posted 04-06-2019 08:14 AM
NASA and the Smithsonian are planning a week-long celebration of Apollo 11's 50th anniversary on the National Mall in July. The National Air and Space Museum will also be debuting Neil Armstrong's spacesuit, which has not been on public display for seven years.
Beyond that though, July will be full of events celebrating the anniversary around the country and world. There will be galas in California, Florida, Alabama and Washington. Historic Mission Control, newly restored, will debut to the public in Texas. There will a Guinness World Record attempt timed with the launch time of Apollo 11. There are new U.S. coins and U.S. stamps. There will be parades, concerts, a touring Cirque-du-Soleil-like stage show, special exhibits, talks, and numerous television specials.
Books about the mission and anniversary editions of previously published books are just beginning to hit book store shelves. There are many more to come.
And that's to say nothing about the activities that are planned for outside of the country, of which there are many.
As for the renovation of the National Air and Space Museum, that timeline was dictated by when Congress made the funds available. Bemoaning that Apollo 11's command module is not in Washington, DC though, seems a bit geographically-biased. The spacecraft has been in the nation's capital for every previous anniversary. That it is in Seattle for the 50th does not mean it will not be seen by many; in fact, many who have not had the chance to come to the East Coast, will now have the opportunity to see it for the first time.
It's funny, but your perspective is the exact opposite of a discussion I just had with another person prominent in the space history community. We both agreed that by July, we were very likely going to be straining against Apollo anniversary overload. There are so many things planned, so many different activities in the works, that they are just too much for any one person to take in.
posted 04-07-2019 10:27 AM
Public apathy has always been a problem for the space program. Add to that the modern distractions of the I-Me-My Phone and you have a recipe for complete indifference. Unfortunately, we have a disinterested disgruntled generation who care very little about space exploration today and even less about the past.
"For all our failings, despite our limitations and fallibilities, we humans are capable of greatness." - Carl Sagan
Posts: 47 From: Denver, Colorado, USA Registered: Dec 2011
posted 04-07-2019 11:10 AM
I recently took family and friends to see "Apollo 11." Each group on a different day, for a total of four different viewings. Everyone enjoyed it very much from ages 7 to 66. It did not grow old, and I enjoyed it just as much the last time as the first time.
I was disappointed in the crowds. The first viewing was at IMAX and the theater was half empty. The other viewings were in a normal theater and there was never more than about 25 people watching. It probably won't be shown for very long. Sad.