This Saturday, The National Archives and its Presidential Libraries will be at the National Air and Space Museum’s annual Space Day.
We’ll be hosting activities including:
- A Mission Checklist hunt for Apollo-related items at the National Archives and the Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
- A Presidential Pop Quiz on U.S. Presidents and the Space Program.
Want a head start on your Mission Checklist? These Moon Tongs were used by Apollo mission astronauts to collect lunar samples.
The tongs are from the holdings of the Nixon Presidential Library and can be seen for a limited time in the “Nixon and the U.S. Space Program” display at the National Archives in D.C.
Close-up view of a set of tongs, an Apollo Lunar Hand Tool, being used by Astronaut Charles Conrad Jr., to pick up lunar samples during the Apollo XII mission, November 19, 1969. Photo courtesy of NASA.
This set of tongs was used to collect lunar samples from the “Ocean of Storms,” the largest dark spot on the Moon’s surface, during the Apollo XII mission. It was presented to President Nixon by astronauts Charles Conrad, Jr., Richard Gordon, Jr., and Alan Bean.
September 12, 1962 — President John F. Kennedy speaks at Rice University Stadium, Houston, Texas, concerning the nation’s efforts in space exploration. In his speech the President discusses the necessity for the United States to become an international leader in space exploration and famously states, “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
“In Event of Moon Disaster”, July 18, 1969.
White House speechwriter, William Safire, was asked to write a speech that President Nixon would make in case the Apollo 11 astronauts were stranded on the Moon.
It was never delivered, and this speech was quietly tucked away into Nixon’s records.
Source: Nixon Library
May 25, 1961
Watch President John F. Kennedy’s deliver his message to Congress on the “urgent national need” to send a man safely to the moon.
“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for all mankind.”
-Astronaut Neil Armstrong’s words as he made his first step onto the surface of the Moon, July 20, 1969
Image: Buzz Aldrin on the Moon next to the U.S. Flag
Happy Leap Day!
“Earthrise” at Christmas, 1968
Apollo 8 was the first flight to orbit the moon in December, 1968. Astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders spent Christmas in deep space. This view of the rising Earth greeted them on their journey.
On December 24 the 3 men delivered a Christmas Eve Broadcast from lunar orbit; approximately 1 billion people tuned in. After they took turns reading from Genesis and sending pictures back home, Colonel Borman concluded with this message:
“We close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you — all of you on the good Earth.”“
For more images from space history, take a look at:
First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.