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Lunar landing celebrations occur today

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One of the most important milestones in history — the landing of the first people on the moon — marks its 50th anniversary today, and Roswell will have a few events to commemorate.

It was July 20, 1969 when NASA astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, part of the Apollo 11 crew, landed on the moon and ventured outside the lunar module, the Eagle, for photographs and experiments while fellow crew member Michael Collins remained in the Columbia command module orbiting. The trio had launched from Cape Kennedy, Florida on July 16.

The day was a culmination of the U.S. effort to display its technological and societal strength, but has since been described as a foundational achievement in planetary science, according to NASA, which says that more than 2,500 scientific articles have been published using the data and materials gathered during all of the Apollo flights.

National events for the landing anniversary are scheduled today at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C., and at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to talk at about 11 a.m. Mountain Standard Time.

Locally the Robert H. Goddard Planetarium at the Roswell Museum and Art Center at 1011 N. Richardson Ave. is having two shows, a 2 p.m. “Incoming” show that looks at how data gathered during prior space missions is influencing current NASA activities, and a 3:30 p.m. “We are Stars” show about the origins of the Earth. (“The Moon” show dedicated to the 50th landing anniversary will be showing at various times later in the month.)

This evening, the museum grounds will be the site for family gatherings, with food trucks and snacks. Starting about 8:15 p.m., the family film “Space Camp,” will be shown. Later, the Roswell Astronomy Club will give people the opportunity to look through telescopes at the object that 50 years ago had our world enthralled.