Apollo 50: Small Steps to a Giant Leap
This exhibition will fill our DaVinci’s Garage experimental maker space from July 20 to October 10, 2019, and allows people young and old to experience the small steps that led to the giant leap of the Moon landings of NASA’s Apollo program from new perspectives by placing them in the seat of Mission Control, exploring the Moon’s surface, feeling a Saturn V rocket launch up-close through VR, experiencing the engineering process, and piloting a lunar lander.
This exhibition is about the most extreme geology field trip ever, and will feature an array of exhibits designed and build by our shop staff of artists, fabricators, and designers, as well as hundreds of hours of volunteer effort by engineers and technicians from the Science Advisory Board. The overarching theme is that, by placing visitors in the action, they see themselves as astronauts, mission controllers, pilots, scientists, and engineers.
The key components are:
- A working Apollo-era mission control console that will allow visitors to experience launch and landing sequences from the ground team’s perspective. This is unique--we carefully restored it to functionality after receiving it from NASA earlier this year. Research on this artifact uncovered some fantastic stories; it was first used during Gemini 4, which saw an American astronaut walk in space for the first time, and last used in the 50th shuttle mission, which sent the first African-American woman into orbit.
- A full-scale hyper-accurate lunar lander simulator, which will provide visitors an opportunity to attempt to land on the Moon’s surface and beat the “high scores” set by the extraordinarily skilled pilots that did so in real life.
- 1:3 scale coupled model of the capsule and lander in moonshot configuration.
- An interactive display of replica spacesuits.
- A wind-tunnel model of a Saturn 1B rocket built by Chrysler, as part of a component that illustrates the vast number of innovative American companies that built the parts of the program and a dynamic model “rocket garden,” including space tool artifacts and program ephemera, that shows the iterative design process and rigorous testing to develop the new technologies used in Apollo
- Scaled Earth and Moon “Magic Planet” globes visualizing current and historic science perspectives of our home world and its cosmic companion.