The Saratoga Sun -

Moon landing commemorated

Saratoga Friends of the Library hosts presentation featuring actual moon rocks, inflatable planetarium and "Back to the Moon: For Good" showing


Saratoga Sun file photo

A full moon

On July 20, 1969, broadcast journalist Walter Cronkite said, "The least of us is improved by the things done by the best of us, because if we are not able to land at least we are able to follow" as CBS provided coverage of the moon landing. Eight years after President John F. Kennedy urged the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to put a man on the moon "within a decade", Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the moon with "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

On July 23, the Saratoga Friend of the Library (FOL) will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing at the Platte Valley Community Center (PVCC). The event will include the inflatable planetarium from Carbon County School District No. 2 and some truly out-of-this-world items as Saratoga Middle High School's Lesley Urasky will have lunar rock samples and meteorite samples on loan from NASA.

"I took a workshop in 2014 from the University of Wyoming and it was sponsored by the Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium. They had a former astronaut, Anthony Levitt, who was there and for half of a day, in that workshop, we went through a special training that would allow us to check out and borrow meteorite samples and lunar rock samples from NASA for our classrooms any time we wanted," said Urasky. "It's an educational package that NASA has. It comes with curriculum and your lunar samples."

Since taking that workshop, Urasky has applied to borrow these samples from NASA a total of four times. The samples are placed in resin discs to preserve them and keep them from being nabbed by a rock-loving child or an outer-space obsessed adult.

"They're embedded in there because we only have so many and they're a priceless treasurer," Urasky said. "I'll also have some of the dissecting microscopes from the school so that if they want a much better look at it, they can put it under the microscope and see that. They will probably look something very similar to rocks you might find here, but just knowing that they are from the moon is pretty darn exciting. The first time I held one of those discs at that training, I cried."

Along with the lunar rock and meteorite samples, and the planetarium, there will be a small class led by Urasky in which she will discuss the currently accepted theory of the formation of the moon as well as showings of "Back to the Moon: For Good."

For those interested in getting a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see lunar rocks, the event will begin at 6 p.m. on July 23 at the PVCC.


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