WEST LAFAYETTE — “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” echoed from millions of television sets in the late evening of July 20, 1969, as Purdue alumnus Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon.
Purdue, known as the “Cradle of Astronauts,” will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing with a series of events July 18-20, including a presentation by Apollo 11’s flight director, showings of a new Armstrong documentary, children’s activities and various panels featuring space authors and others who knew Armstrong or worked on the Apollo 11 mission. There also will be a moment of remembrance at 4:17 p.m. to mark the exact time of the lunar landing.
Fifty years ago, Armstrong, along with command module pilot Buzz Aldrin, spent several hours walking on the lunar surface, collecting rocks and photographing the historic event. Armstrong’s historic moment is the theme for Purdue’s Giant Leaps Sesquicentennial Campaign. The 150th celebration of Purdue will conclude with an astronaut reunion at Homecoming on Oct. 12.
Activities for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing start on July 18. Apollo 11 flight director Gene Kranz presents “Go or No-Go: The Untold Story of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing.” The event will take place at 3 p.m. and it will be livestreamed.
On July 19, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., is an open house for the special exhibition “Apollo in the Archives: Selection from the Neil A. Armstrong Papers.” The exhibition can be accessed through Humanities, Social Sciences and Education Library in Stewart Center. The exhibition includes key Apollo 11 mission documents and artifacts from Armstrong’s personal papers. Open house activities for kids of all ages will include exhibition scavenger hunts and viewing of Apollo 11 World Tour rare film clips. Popcorn and light refreshments will be provided. More information about the exhibition is available here.
Festivities continue July 20 with a variety of events including:
9 a.m. to noon, “Apollo in the Archives: Selection from the Neil A. Armstrong Papers” can be accessed through Humanities, Social Sciences and Education Library in Stewart Center.
10-11:45 a.m., Stewart Center’s Loeb Playhouse, showing of “Armstrong” documentary. This new documentary film features home videos shot by Armstrong and unseen footage from NASA.
Noon to 1 p.m. Lobby of Loeb Playhouse in Stewart Center. Space author meet and greet. Featuring George Leopold, author of “Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom;” John Norberg, co-author of “Spacewalker;” and Susan Gunderson, co-author of “Becoming