Houston, we have a landing. On July 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 Lunar Lander touched down on the moon, heralding astronauts like Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin as the first humans to successfully accomplish a lunar landing. This summer, HMNS is your destination for celebrating 50 years of giant leaps!
HMNS at Hermann Park
Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing in Houston
Out-of-This-World Lunar Exhibition
We’ve lassoed the Moon, and brought it down to Houston! Created by artist Luke Jerram, this 23 feet-in-diameter sculpture features 120 dpi detailed NASA imagery of the Moon’s surface, using projection mapping. Lunar features, such as Tycho, Apollo 11’s landing spot and even the elusive “dark side of the moon” are displayed in stunning resolution on this unique sculpture. HMNS Discovery Guides are also giving daily Moon tours, uncovering how the Moon was made, describing its geologic features and weaving the history of human’s exploration of the moon. Click below to learn more about Moon by Luke Jerram.
Also, in Glassell Hall is a to-scale replica of a 2021 Nova-C Lunar Rover. The Rover boasts the very first liquid oxygen/liquid methane engine in space and cutting-edge precision landing software. It is the only Texas-based commercial lunar lander announced by NASA to fly payloads to the Moon in 2021.
Included with admission to the permanent exhibit halls.
Interactive Ways to Learn about the Moon Landing
Underneath Moon by Luke Jerram, you can blast off with Destination Moon. Using immersive virtual reality, you can land on the Moon, circle the ISS, and even visit a Moon colony, all from inside the museum. Get tickets at this link or click below:
Usually reserved for private groups and special event bookings, our Expedition Center’s Mission Control and Legacy Spacecraft Simulator is open this summer for daily Lunar Landing Tours. You can become a critical member of an astronaut team with a journey to the Moon! Learn more here or click below:
Tribute to the Apollo 11 Astronauts at the Burke Baker Planetarium
Developed by the astronomy team at HMNS, Apollo & Beyond: Conquering Gravity is a planetarium show that celebrates the 24 Apollo astronauts who are among the only humans to escape the bonds of Earth’s gravitational pull. We share their exhilarating adventure on the moon and create a realistic future lunar colony where humans could enjoy this low gravity world. Then, the Moon is just the beginning of our exploration of gravity in action. This is an adventure for all ages with beautiful environments and a universe of new discoveries. Learn more here.
On your way to your planetarium show, you’ll notice one of our newest installations, a recreation of the Sea of Tranquility, where the astronauts of Apollo 11 landed in July 1969. Stand with the U.S. flag staked on the Moon, and see the footprints left Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and other Apollo 11 astronauts on the Moon’s dirt. The Burke Baker Planetarium also boasts various Moon rocks and space suits, so you learn on the way to your show.
Apollo 11 Recreation in the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre
With never-before-seen 70mm footage and a trove of newly discovered audio recordings, Apollo 11: First Steps Edition reconstructs the Apollo 11 mission in astonishing detail. Experience the exhilarating final moments of preparation, the countdown, liftoff, landing and return of this historic mission—one of mankind’s greatest achievements. Learn more, and see the trailer below:
Special Events Celebrating the Moon Landing Anniversary in Houston
Family Star Viewing
July 12, 7 p.m.
Perfect for date night or family time, our family star viewing is the perfect place to marvel at the night sky from the 7th floor of our parking garage. Our astronomy experts will be there, telescopes aimed at the sky. Tickets also include a stellar picnic style dinner, live planetarium shows and tours of our expedition center. Learn more:
Mixers & Elixirs: From Houston to the Moon
July 19, 8–11 p.m.
Party under the Moon for this special out-of-this-world edition of Mixers & Elixirs. Time traveling band, The Space Rockers are playing your favorite dance hits surrounded by the light of Moon by Luke Jerram. It’s the best party this side of the galaxy! Learn more below:
Lecture – Grand Tour of the Moon by David Kring & WindSync Concert
July 20, 7 p.m.
Tour the Moon with space exploration scientist Dr. David Kring of the Lunar and Planetary Institute as your guide. Using the giant illuminated sculpture of the Moon by Luke Jerram, Dr. Kring will point out the Moon’s geologic formations, asteroid impacts and historic landing sites. The evening will conclude with a performance by WindSync, an award-winning wind quintet, who will play a piece commissioned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Composer is Marc Mellits. Get tickets here.
On Social Media
Follow the Houston Museum of Natural Science on Facebook for Livestreams of these events.
Fly Me to the Moon
July 18, 10:30 a.m.
Mission Controllers of the Apollo missions land their own grandchildren on the Moon in our Expedition Center. Then, the Mission Controllers share their experiences with the Apollo 11 landing. Follow us on Facebook for more!
Team Moon vs Team Mars — Future Astronauts Choose
July 19, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Should the next human venture take us back to the Moon or to Mars? Twelve teenage interns debate with live voting from children in our Space Camp, letting us know how the kids of today feel about their possible tomorrows in space. This program is part of our Open Space partnership with the American Museum of Natural History. Follow us on Facebook for more!
Other Ways to Learn about the Moon Landing
Beyond Bones Blogs
When you come see our giant scale model Moon and walk around it, you’ll notice how different the near side (which always faces us) is from the far side (which we never see). Large, dark lava flows called ‘maria’ cover almost a third (31.2%) of the near side but only 1% of the far side. Read more…
Most of us are familiar with the crazy moon landing conspiracy theories that were sparked soon after Apollo 11 returned to Earth, but hardly anybody knows about the real moon hoax that occurred more than a hundred years before America’s Space Program was even conceived. Read more…
Our replica Moon has been on display for about a month now. As I helped create the information panels labeling craters and maria on the Moon, I found myself wondering, “Why does this particular crater have that name?” “Who picked the names anyway?” Read more…
We are pleased to present our newest exhibit, a scale model of the Moon just in time to commemorate the 50th anniversary of our Apollo missions! Read more…
Beyond Bones: An HMNS Podcast
Season 2 Episode 4 To the Moon and Back
Fifty years ago, the astronauts aboard Apollo 11 took their first steps on the moon. We talk to our VP of astronomy Dr. Carolyn Sumners and professor of physics and astronomy at Rice University Dr. Patricia Dr. Reiff about the day we took a giant leap for humankind.
Celebrating Apollo 11 in Ft. Bend County
Events at the George Observatory
July 12, 7:30 – 10 p.m.
All of our telescopes will point to the Moon. Astronomy experts will lead tours and help you explore the landing site, lunar plains, mountain ranges, cliffs, craters and more. Learn more below:
July 20 | 1 – 11 p.m.
Celebrate the past, present and future landings on the moon with speakers and stellar activities. All Discovery Dome shows will feature the moon. Learn more below:
Celebrating the Moon with HMNS at Sugar Land
Moon Festival and Nighttime Stargazing
July 19, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. & 8 – 11 p.m.
Join a NASA Ambassador to imagine what it might be like to live on the moon, listen to an expert docent talk about NASA’s past (and future!) and try stellar crafts and snacks. Learn more below:
Take a Seat
Naming a planetarium seat is a unique way to support scientific initiatives and education at the museum and to honor a special individual. Learn more below: