Celebrate the moon landing with Minnesota moon rocks, Apollo movie

Updated: July 19, 2019 06:48 PM

Minnesota companies like Honeywell and Pillsbury played key roles in providing key components for the Apollo spacecraft and nourishment for the astronauts. In the aftermath of the moon landings, Minnesota and every other state also received tiny pieces of the moon.

"The Nixon administration made gifts of soil samples from Apollo 11 and chunks of the goodwill rock from Apollo 17, and they gave these things to every state and territory in the U.S. as well as 135 countries around the world and the (United Nations)," said Sondra Reierson, the curator of 3D objects at the Minnesota History Center.


RELATED: Minnesota companies played big role in the Apollo 11 moon landing 50 years ago

The Apollo 17 rocks from the 1972 mission to the moon are under lock and key beneath the Minnesota History Center. The moon rocks from Apollo 11, the first mission to the moon, are on loan to the Science Museum of Minnesota where they are on display to the public in honor of the 50th anniversary.

"Being here standing in front of it is the best possible way to get an appreciation for just the achievement and the journey that these little rocks had to go through to make it here," said Alex Hastings, with the Science Museum of Minnesota.

Even though the astronauts on Apollo 11 weren't from Minnesota, NASA has sent several Minnesotans into space in the years that followed.

In addition to the moon rocks, visitors to the Science Museum can also see an IMAX movie, "Apollo 11: First Steps Edition," featuring film not seen in nearly 50 years after it was stored in vaults at NASA since the 1970s.

"It languished in these vaults and then all of a sudden, when there was interest in the 50th anniversary, somebody along talked to these filmmakers and said, 'I have something you might be interested in,' and they looked at this footage and said, 'holy cow, this would be perfect for IMAX,'" explains Tom Hedrick, marketing director for the Science Museum.

A 50th anniversary moon landing celebration will take place on Saturday at the Science Museum with an appearance by a former astronaut. The moon rocks and movie will be available to the public through early August.

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Tom Hauser

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