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Apollo 11: Events mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landing
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Apollo 11: Events mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landing

Apollo 11: Events mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landing
Photo Credit: NASA
The July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 moon landing. U.S. astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first men to walk on the lunar surface. The country is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing with commemorative events all month.

Apollo 11: Events mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landing

Americans are marking the 50-year anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took the first “small steps for man” and “one giant leap for mankind” as they stepped onto the lunar surface on July 20, 1969, with command module pilot Michael Collins orbiting above.
The landing marked the fulfillment of President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 directive to land a crew on the moon and return to Earth and gave the United States the edge in the Cold War space race with Russia while sealing its status as a world leader in science and technology.

>> Read more trending news

This summer is packed full of events around the country honoring the hundreds of men and women who made the Apollo 11 mission possible and helped make the US a global superpower in space travel. From commemorative events on July 20 to museum exhibits, Apollo 11 galleries, virtual interactive moon landings and special television programming, Americans can find any number of ways to celebrate the historic mission and have some space-themed fun at the same time.

Numerous festivities are planned between the launch date of Apollo 11 on July 16, the moon landing on July 20 and the July 24 splashdown.

Here’s just a few of the many special events commemorating the milestone anniversary:

July 19 – NASA television is broadcasting a special program on the eve of the anniversary live from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida called “Giant Leaps: Past and Future – Celebrating Apollo 50th as we Go Forward to the Moon.” The program features live events at the newly-restored Apollo mission control room at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, a special guest at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington and more. Watch is on the NASA live channel.

July - In Neil Armstrong’s birthplace in Wapakoneta, Ohio, events include a Run to the Moon race, the Moon Festival Pageant and a “Wink at the Moon” concert. The Armstrong Museum is also conducting a public countdown to man’s first steps on the moon.

July 19 - In Huntsville, Alabama, where the Saturn V rocket was produced, residents are planning a massive street dance, including the moonwalk, reliving the day in 1969 when people took to the streets in “Rocket City” to celebrate the amazing achievement.

July 18-20The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is sponsoring a commemoration that includes the “Go for the Moon” show, which involves projecting a 363-foot rocket on one side of the Washington Monument along with the Apollo 50 Festival. The festival includes exhibits, live performances and speakers on the National Mall.

Open nowThe Virginia Air and Space Center Official Visitor Center for NASA Langley is featuring a “Be the Astronaut/ Apollo 50th” permanent exhibit. It’s an interactive virtual experience in the history of lunar exploration and future moon missions.

July 19-21The Museum of Flight in Seattle is hosting the Lunar Landing Celebration Festival. The museum is also featuring a new exhibition until Sept. 2, 2019, called “Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission, which features the Columbia command module and other rare Smithsonian artifacts from Apollo 11.

July 1- July 31 - The Exploratorium in San Francisco is hosting the Museum of the Moon: A huge photorealistic sculpture of the moon that shows every cliff and crater on the lunar surface.
Until Jan. 5, 2020 – “One Giant Leap: North Carolina and the Space Race” exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh.

JulyThe New York Metropolitan Museum of Art is hosting an exhibition called “Apollo’s Muse: The Moon in the Age of Photography,” featuring images of the moon dating back to the dawn of photography in the 1830s. The National Gallery of Art in Washington is also featuring a photo exhibition of early lunar images to commemorate the Apollo 11 moon landing, including the earliest lunar images by Warren de la Rue and Lewis M. Rutherford.

Until Dec., 2019 – The U.S. Space and Rocket Center – One Tranquility Base in Huntsville, Alabama, is hosting live reenactments of the Apollo 11 moon landing every day at the Davidson Center. The center is also hosting “Apollo: When We Went to the Moon,” a world premiere exhibition chronicling the timeline from the beginning of the Space Race between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union through the collaborative culture of the international Space Station program and beyond.

To see more events click here.

The Associated Press and Space.com contributed to this story.

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News

  • It was once thought of as an impossible quest, an improbable moonshot of the longest odds: Putting humans on the lunar surface then returning them to Earth. >> Read more trending news  The directive from President John F. Kennedy in 1961 asked the young space agency NASA to do just that, and in eight short years the agency and hundreds of support personnel and ordinary Americans accomplished what many argue is the greatest human achievement of all time. July 20 marks the 50-year anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission that saw three astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins travel to where no man had gone before. Armstrong and Aldrin walked into history when they touched down on the lunar surface while Collins orbited above.The Apollo 11 moon landing was the first manned mission to the moon, and it was the first time in history humans left Earth and landed on another planetary body. The astronauts also brought back the first samples from a planetary object. Aside from the obvious reason the historic Apollo 11 mission was so important, there are other reasons the mission made a lasting impact on the country and the world. Some historical analyses credit the Apollo 11 mission with the start of the digital revolution and other major technological gains.  “The technology that America reaped from the federal investment in space hardware (satellite reconnaissance, biomedical equipment, lightweight materials, water-purification systems, improved computing systems and a global search-and-rescue system) has earned its worth multiple times over,” historian Douglas Brinkley concluded in his book “AMERICAN MOONSHOT: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race.” “We didn’t get the Jetsons, as some people dreamed, but the eight years between President Kennedy’s challenge and the actual moon landing produced an unprecedented blossoming of innovation, creativity, public attention (and then public inattention), innovative management, intensity, suspense, discovery, and politics. We think we went to the Moon and all we got was Tang and Velcro, because we’ve lost the perspective of how the Apollo project laid the foundation for the digital age in which we now live and work,” David Lidsky wrote for Fast Company. Kent Wang wrote for the Asia Times that the Apollo 11 mission opened the gateway for the exploration of the universe and created a potential staging area for a journey to Mars. “NASA needs to develop a strategy for effectively leveraging both commercial and international partners to send humans on missions to the moon. Fortunately, we now seem to be closer to a consensus that it is time for humans to move beyond low-Earth orbit and that an important part of that evolution will involve people landing on the moon and establishing a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars.” It’s the Apollo 11 mission so many years ago that proved humans could leave the Earth and journey beyond its gravity to our nearest neighbor. It’s Apollo 11 that opened the door to the possibility of human exploration of the universe and the upcoming next step: a mission to Mars.
  • Officials with Humane Animal Rescue said a McKee's Rocks resident brought a cat in over the weekend after reporting a serious leg injury. >> Read more trending news The agency said after veterinarians took a closer look, they determined firecrackers were tied to her front left paw with rubber bands. 'There really wasn't any paw left,' explained Jamie Wilson, director of medical business. 'I had to stop her from eating and drinking too quickly so she wouldn't get sick.'  The person who brought the cat in, Kenny Skepanski, found her Friday with the injury. 'I had to help. She was badly hurt, and I couldn't let any animal suffer like that,' Skepanski said. The cat, named Pickles, had to have her leg amputated. Rescue officials said Pickles is 3 years old and she is expected to make a full recovery.
  • A Bremerton, Washington, mother who is an active member of the U.S. Navy was arrested Tuesday for inflicting 'severe and horrific trauma' on her newborn twins, police said.  >> Read more trending news Police began investigating in May 2019 when the mother brought the twins into the hospital because one of them had a swollen right leg. Hospital staff determined that the baby suffered a fractured femur by 'non-accidental trauma.' The infant was transferred to Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma where the baby was found to also have suffered 11 rib fractures and a fractured clavicle.  The mother told hospital staff that the other twin also had a swollen left leg. That infant was also evaluated and hospital staff determined that the baby had a fractured femur, five rib fractures, both clavicles fractured and a torn membrane beneath the tongue.  The twins were taken into protective custody by the Bremerton Police Department and Child Protective Services, according to police.  Medical staff at the hospital documented that the mother 'showed no emotion or concern about her babies having horrific broken bone injuries, and no emotion about the babies being placed with CPS.' A two-month investigation that included interviews with the parents, relatives, neighbors, coworkers, medical staff and analysis of cellphone data assisted in the mother's arrest. 
  • Former United States Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens died Tuesday at the age of 99 after suffering complications from a stroke.  >> Read more trending news Stevens was the third longest-serving Supreme Court justice in the court’s history, appointed in 1975 by President Gerald Ford. He retired in 2010 at the age of 90, but never slowed down, writing two books after his retirement: “Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution” and “Five Chiefs: A Supreme Court Memoir.” Here are five things to know about Stevens: 1. Justice John Paul Stevens was a registered Republican when he was appointed to the Supreme Court by a Republican president, but eventually he emerged as the leader of the panel’s liberal wing, a position he held until his retirement in 2010. 2. He was born on April 20, 1920, in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood to one of the city’s wealthiest families, whose business empire included what was then the world’s largest hotel, according to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School. The Stevens Hotel was eventually bought by Hilton Hotels and is now the Chicago Hilton and Towers. 3. Stevens suffered through a family tragedy when he was a teenager. His father, Ernest Stevens; his uncle Raymond Stevens; and his grandfather, J.W. Stevens, were indicted in 1933 on embezzlement charges, according to news reports. The stress reportedly caused J.W. Stevens to suffer a stroke and Raymond Stevens to commit suicide. His father was acquitted of the charges, but the family business and hotel were lost in the aftermath. 4. Stevens graduated from the University of Chicago and eventually from Northwestern Law School. He enlisted in the Navy during World War II and served as a codebreaker, earning a Bronze Star, according to the Legal Information Institute. He used money from the G.I. Bill to attend law school 5. Stevens was married twice. He married Elizabeth Jane Shereen in 1942 and they had four children: John Joseph, Kathryn, Elizabeth and Susan. The Stevens divorced in 1979. Stevens and Maryan Mulholland Simon married in December 1979. She died in 2015 at the age of 84, according to The Washington Post. His son, John Joseph, died of cancer in 1996.
  • Baton Rouge police on Tuesday announced the arrest of a man in the Friday slaying of Sadie Roberts-Joseph, the 75-year-old founder of the city's African-American history museum who was suffocated and stuffed into the trunk of her abandoned car. Ronn Jermaine Bell Sr., 38, of Baton Rouge, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Roberts-Joseph, whose autopsy showed she died of asphyxiation, including suffocation. East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner William “Beau” Clark released his preliminary findings on Monday. Baton Rouge police officials said on Tuesday that the alleged motive for the crime was $1,200 in back rent that Bell, a registered sex offender and tenant at one of Roberts-Joseph’s rental properties, owed the longtime community activist. Bell was initially booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Jail Monday night on a fugitive charge after he apparently failed to pay a fee related to his sex offender status. He remained jailed Tuesday as officials announced the murder charge in Roberts-Joseph’s homicide. Baton Rouge police Chief Murphy Paul said the killing was not believed to be race-related, which had initially been a fear in the community. Both Roberts-Joseph and Bell are black. “There’s no information to lead us to believe this is a hate crime,” Paul said during a Tuesday afternoon news conference. 'I'm heartbroken that our community has lost such a kind and selfless soul in such a violent, tragic manner,' East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said. 'I have known and loved Ms. Sadie Roberts-Joseph for years and admire and respect her dedication to education and our community. 'Hate tried to silence Ms. Sadie, but her voice will continue to ring strong for peace and love through the countless people she touched.' Watch the entire news conference at the Baton Rouge Police Department below. The Advocate in Baton Rouge reported that Joseph’s body was found in the trunk of her car around 3:45 p.m. Friday in the 2300 block of North 20th Street, about 3 miles from her home. Prior to the news conference, Baton Rouge police officials had been tight-lipped on details of the case, and it was unclear what led to the discovery. Roberts-Joseph had last been seen alive around 11 a.m. Friday as the area was bracing for the arrival of Tropical Storm Barry. Smith ruled Roberts-Joseph’s death a homicide on Monday, three days after she was found. “It is with great sadness and respect we investigate any unexpected or traumatic death,” Smith wrote. “When our investigation involves an innocent victim, such as Ms. Sadie Joseph, it is particularly tragic. Our condolences are extended to Ms. Joseph’s family and friends.” Roberts-Joseph’s son, Jason Roberts, told WBRZ Monday the family was shocked that anyone would kill his mother. He gave the news station a message for her killer. “You stole light,” Roberts said. “You stole a warm, loving, giving and caring woman and it wasn’t just for her family. She cared for the city. She cared for you. “Her life should not have ended that way. She did not deserve that, but she would want forgiveness for you.” Listen to Jason Roberts talk more about his mom below, courtesy of WBRZ. Roberts-Joseph left her mark on the Baton Rouge community when she founded the Odell S. Williams Now and Then Museum of African-American History in 2001. The museum, now known as the Baton Rouge African-American History Museum, was named for a Baton Rouge educator. Roberts-Joseph had also been the organizer for the city’s Juneteenth celebration for several years. Baton Rouge police officials over the weekend wrote on Facebook that they mourned the loss of Roberts-Joseph with her family and the community. “Ms. Sadie was a tireless advocate of peace in the community,” the department’s post read. “We had opportunities to work with her on so many levels. From assisting with her bicycle give-away at the African American museum to working with the organization she started called CADAV (Community Against Drugs and Violence). Ms. Sadie is a treasure to our community, she will be missed by BRPD and her loss will be felt in the community she served.” Representatives of the Baton Rouge branch of the NAACP described Roberts-Joseph as a cultural legend. “From reviving Juneteenth to the culture preserved at her museum, she was a trendsetter and icon in this city,” the NAACP's Facebook post said. “#RIPower.” State Rep. C. Denise Marcelle wrote Saturday that her heart was empty over the loss of her friend. “This woman was amazing and loved her history,” Marcelle wrote. “She never bothered anyone, just wanted to expand her African-American museum downtown, where she continually hosted the Juneteenth Celebration yearly. I loved working with her and am saddened by her death.” WBRZ reported that Bell is on the sex offender registry because of a 2007 guilty plea to the sexual battery of a 9-year-old girl. Facing a life sentence for aggravated rape, he was allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge, which saw him released after seven years in prison, the news station reported. A candlelight vigil was being held Tuesday night at the museum Roberts-Joseph helped found, the station said.
  • Atlanta police have arrested a Senoia man suspected of firing at least 29 rounds from the window of his car as children played nearby, authorities said Tuesday. Michael Hanson, 41, faces a host of drug charges after officers discovered 1.2 pounds of marijuana, 6.5 grams of cocaine packaged in 22 baggies, crack and manufactured THC oil inside his car, police said. Officers also found a handgun with an extended magazine that may have been used in a July 11 shooting on Campbellton Road in southwest Atlanta, authorities said.  Hanson was arrested Sunday afternoon after an officer spotted him driving his gray 2008 Dodge Charger on McDaniel Street, according to an Atlanta Police Department incident report.  As officers approached the vehicle, they reportedly noticed a strong smell of marijuana coming from inside. Hanson was detained and authorities found drugs, the gun and more than $1,467 in cash inside the Charger. According to police, Hanson is a felon who is not allowed to possess any firearms.  Hanson spent about 10 months in prison after being convicted of aggravated assault, reckless conduct and weapons charges in Coweta County, according to Georgia Department of Corrections records. He was released in May 2017, prison records show.  He now faces one count each of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He has not been charged in connection with the July 11 shooting, which remains under investigation by the APD’s gun assault unit, police said.  ALSO: Homes with children inside sprayed with bullets Hanson remains held at the Fulton County jail without bond, records show.   In other news: