This summer marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, where American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on July 20, 1969; Michael Collins remained in the capsule Columbia in lunar orbit.
Here are a few places to take your own small steps to commemorate the event.
Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, Washington: Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 spacesuit will go on temporary display for the first time in 13 years starting July 16. A slate of commemorative activities are planned throughout the year. At the museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center, adjacent to Dulles International Airport, you can visit the Mobile Quarantine Facility, a high-tech Airstream camper where the astronauts were initially confined upon their return to Earth. (airandspace.si.edu)
U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville, Ala. Home of the famous Space Camp, this museum is a must-see for space buffs. Through December, it’s putting on a special exhibit, “Apollo: When We Went to the Moon.” Artifacts include the hand casts used to create the gloves for the Apollo 11 astronauts. (rocketcenter.com)
Neil Armstrong First Flight Memorial, Warren, Ohio: A quirky memorial (set in a McDonald’s parking lot) that replicates Apollo 11 sitting on the surface of the moon, it commemorates the site where a 6-year-old Armstrong took his first airplane ride and became hooked on the concept of flight. (firstflightwarren.org)
Meteor Crater, Winslow, Ariz.: Astronauts trained here to learn more about geology at the best-preserved meteorite impact site on the planet. It’s 120 miles southeast of the Grand Canyon, and visitors can gaze into the void (550 feet deep) or take a hiking tour around the rim (2.4 miles). (meteorcrater.com)
Parkes Observatory and Australia Telescope National Facility, New South Wales, Australia: Fans of the quirky Australian film The Dish will recognize it as the site that relayed the images of the Apollo 11 astronauts cavorting on the lunar surface back to Earth. This immense 210-foot radio telescope in the sparse Bush Country is surrounded by grazing sheep, belying the important scientific mission taking place within it. There’s an on-site museum about its role in Apollo 11. (parkes.atnf.csiro.au)