Fifty years ago this week, the Apollo 11 astronauts launched on their history-making mission. Saturday, July 20, is the anniversary of that first landing of humans on the Moon; a great milestone to reflect on, as well as an opportunity to look ahead. Read on for some of the ways you can celebrate and learn with NASA!
It’s not just science centers that are celebrating the 50th anniversary of humans landing on the Moon. There are events taking place worldwide at libraries, concert halls, baseball stadiums, National Parks, art museums, and on city streets. Find anniversary events near you with this searchable map and calendar.
This collection of hands-on activities for all ages will have you throwing water balloons to learn about craters on the Moon, helping actual NASA scientists by mapping the Moon from your own computer, building a model of the Earth-Moon system and seeing what it takes to investigate strange new planets. You can even make your own lunar spacecraft.
The Forward to the Moon With Artemis activity book is a fun way to learn about the Apollo mission that first put people on the Moon and what’s in store for the future. Also, check out these hands-on activities, building challenges and online games!
Focus On the Moon
Love observing the Moon and the rest of the night sky? The Night Sky Network will help you find local astronomy clubs and events. Save the date for International Observe the Moon Night, October 5. If you’re clouded out, you can always make your own Moon to enjoy!
NASA TV has a full lineup of Apollo programming. On July 19 at 3 p.m. (EDT), you can watch STEM Forward to the Moon. The half-hour show will feature students enacting simulations of a return to the Moon with NASA’s Artemis program. The accompanying Educator’s Guide has all you need to try the activities from the show at home or in the classroom.
Join NASA and educational centers nationwide to build a virtual mission to the Moon on July 18. Follow #VirtualMoonshot on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to take part – or follow along with a host center near you.
Finally, if you’ve wondered what it would have been like to have social media 50 years ago, be sure to follow Relive Apollo 11 for tweets that tell the story of the mission in real time, starting with its July 16 launch!
Teachable Moment: Apollo 50th Anniversary
Explore the incredible history of the Apollo missions and find out what's in store for NASA's next mission to the Moon.
Make a Straw Rocket
Create a paper rocket that can be launched from a soda straw – then, modify the design to make the rocket fly farther!
Make an Astronaut Lander
Design and build a lander that will protect two "astronauts" when they touch down.
Make a Cardboard Rover
Build a rubber-band-powered rover that can scramble across a room.
Make a Moon Phases Calendar and Calculator
Like a decoder wheel for the Moon, this calendar will show you where and when to see the Moon and every moon phase throughout the year!
Observing the Moon
Students identify the Moon’s location in the sky and record their observations over the course of the moon-phase cycle in a journal.
Time 30 mins - 1 hr
Students learn about the phases of the moon by acting them out.
Time 30 mins - 1 hr
Whip Up a Moon-Like Crater
Whip up a moon-like crater with baking ingredients as a demonstration for students.
Time 30 mins - 1 hr
Modeling the Earth-Moon System
Students learn about scale models and distance by creating a classroom-size Earth-Moon system.
Time 30 mins - 1 hr
After a full day of intense competition, a team of students from University High School in Irvine, California, earned first place in a regional round of the U.S. Department of Energy National Science Bowl on Jan. 26, 2019. This is the second consecutive year that the school has placed first in the regional round, and it's the 27th year that NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has hosted the competition.
This feature was originally published on April 25, 2016.
If you weren't able to snag a ticket to "Explore JPL," there are still plenty of ways to experience the wonder of space exploration with NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Consider these alternatives, which feature some of the same great people, science and engineering as our Explore JPL event.
Tour the clean room, where engineers have built some of NASA's most advanced spacecraft, including the Mars Curiosity rover and the Juno spacecraft now at Jupiter. Get a look at the command center for active missions. And see a collection of spacecraft models, moon samples, and other science and mission artifacts in our Visitor Center. JPL offers tours free of charge for individuals and groups. Reserve your spot on the JPL Tours website.
Hear about JPL's latest scientific discoveries, missions, and technology form the scientists, engineers and technologists who are making them a reality. JPL hosts free talks twice per month, on consecutive Thursdays and Fridays at the laboratory and Pasadena City College, respectively. The Thursday talks are also broadcast live and recorded on Ustream. See a calendar of upcoming lectures and learn more, here.
Museum Alliance Events
NASA's Museum Alliance is a partnership of more than 700 museums, planetariums, science centers, nature centers and youth-serving organizations around the world that receive resources and professional development from NASA – and in turn share those resources with their own audiences, through exhibitions and programming. Visit the Museum Alliance website to see a calendar of NASA space exploration and science events near you.
Night Sky Network Events
See the stars and explore the wonders of the night sky. The Night Sky Network brings the science, technology and inspiration of NASA missions to the general public through astronomy clubs and events across the country. Find a list of upcoming events, including star parties, telescope workshops and educational talks, on the Night Sky Network website.
Solar System Ambassadors Events
JPL's Solar System Ambassadors program works with dedicated volunteers throughout the country to share the excitement of the laboratory's space exploration missions and scientific discoveries with local communities. See a calendar of upcoming presentations and outreach events on the Solar System Ambassadors website.
Discover upcoming educational events, professional development workshops, team competitions, internship openings and other events for students, teachers and parents on our events page.
Connect with JPL Online
You can join the conversation with JPL and get updates on the latest happenings without even leaving the house. There are a number of ways to connect with JPL through social media and online.
- See a list of our social media channels and follow us.
- Visit the JPL website for news, events and special features from the laboratory.
- Sign up for our email news.
NASA is giving people around the world a reason to ooh and aah this July Fourth. At 8:18 p.m. PDT, as fireworks are streaming through the skies across the U.S., the Juno spacecraft will be taking the on-ramp to an orbit around Jupiter.
See the full problem set (optimized for screen readers and mobile devices) and answers, here
While maybe not as dramatic as a jet-powered landing on Mars, the Juno Orbit Insertion (the name for the process, also called JOI) requires that the spacecraft slow down just enough to not go zooming past Jupiter. As of Thursday, the spacecraft’s fate rested on a series of 1s and Os as a command sequence made the 48-minute journey from a gargantuan antenna in Goldstone, California, to the spacecraft 534 million miles away.
While a successful orbit insertion is now largely out of mission controllers’ hands, there will be no shortage of nail biting on July Fourth. With a five-year journey behind it and lofty goals ahead – which include peering through Jupiter’s thick cloud cover to uncover clues about how our solar system was formed – Juno has a lot resting on what will amount to a 35-minute engine burn. And perhaps even bigger risks are still to come as Juno begins its 33.5 oblong orbits around Jupiter, which will bring the spacecraft closer than ever before to the planet’s cloud tops – and to its lethal radiation.
To follow along on July 4 as Juno begins its journey into Jupiter’s orbit, watch NASA TV live coverage beginning at 7:30 p.m. PDT.
For a mission countdown, images, facts about Jupiter and Juno and other resources, visit NASA’s Solar System Exploration website.
And check out these educational activities for students and teachers from NASA/JPL Edu:
- Pi in the Sky: Gravity Grab - In this illustrated math problem, students calculate how much the Juno spacecraft needs to slow down to go into orbit about Jupiter. (See the full Pi in the Sky problem set with answers)
- Pi in the Sky: Jupiter Jockey - Students use the mathematical constant pi to calculate the distance Juno will travels in one orbit around Jupiter. (See the full Pi in the Sky problem set with answers)
- Exploring Jupiter Slideshow - Find out how many spacecraft have been to Jupiter so far and what they've discovered. Plus download a free poster!
- Powering Through the Solar System with Exponents - This educational activity has students use exponents and division to understand how the Juno spacecraft got to Jupiter using solar power.
- Why with Nye: Mission to Jupiter - In this video series, Bill Nye explains why NASA is sending a spacecraft to the most giant (and possibly most dangerous) planet in our solar system.
You’ve probably heard about some of the fascinating missions and science happening at NASA, but wouldn’t it be great if you could see it in person? You can!
Every day, hundreds of museums, planetariums, observatories, libraries and other institutions participating in NASA’s Museum Alliance offer exhibits, planetarium shows and events featuring NASA science, technology and engineering. As the school year comes to a close, you can keep students – and learners of all ages – engaged by visiting your local informal education institutions. So make May the month you plan your next museum adventure and support organizations that bring the inspiration of NASA to you! Not sure where to start? Use the Museum Alliance's "Map of Members" to find destinations near you or explore the dynamic “Events Near Me” map, which lets you search by date to find the latest offerings.
For example, this month you could check out the new exhibits Out of this World: A Space Adventure at The Living Arts & Science Center in Lexington, Kentucky, or the Discover NASA traveling exhibition at the Auburn Public Library in Maine. You could experience “Intergalactic: A Space Odyssey” in the digital dome theater of Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Or, also this month, join the fun in California at the San Diego Air & Space Museum’s Space Day 2016, or sign up for the New Mexico Museum of Space History’s Rocketeer Academy summer camps.
Every year, more visits are made to U.S. museums – more than 850 million – than to all major sporting events and theme parks combined. Americans love their museums - get out there and see why!
At a museum, science center, library, camp or other informal education institution? Learn how you can join the more than 700 organizations participating in NASA’s Museum Alliance, here.
Update – April 25, 2016: We've reached capacity for our Ticket to Explore event. All the tickets have been distributed via the website. However, there are more ways to explore JPL, including free tours, lectures and other events from our museum and educational partners.
JPL has announced a new approach to Open House, that one special weekend each year when the laboratory invites the public to discover all the ways it's exploring the solar system and beyond. It's called a Ticket to Explore JPL, and it will feature the same great exhibits, movies, talks and booths as Open House, but you must reserve a ticket to attend.
The tickets are free, but limited, and they will be distributed on a first-come-first-served basis starting April 25 on JPL's Special Events page. The maximum number of tickets per requester is five. And to enter JPL, you must have your ticket in hand along with a matching ID, if you are 18 or older. Tickets are not transferable.
› Learn more about the event on JPL News