Blank web2It is almost 50 years since Neil Armstrong spoke those words as he climbed down a ladder and stepped onto the moon, the first of 12 astronauts to walk on its surface and the first to leave Earth’s orbit and visit another world.

Getting Armstrong and “Buzz” Aldrin to the moon was a herculean project that fulfilled President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 challenge to land astronauts on it by the end of the decade. Kennedy’s challenge came after a Soviet cosmonaut became the first person to fly in space, reinforcing American fears about being left behind in technology.

You have a chance to revisit the walk on the moon at 10 a.m. Monday, March 18, when NASA Ambassador Ted Blank returns to PebbleCreek to talk about the history and accomplishments of the Apollo project. Audiences were spellbound during Blank’s previous talks about Mars and Saturn, as his incredible photos, depth of knowledge and love of outer space captured everyone’s imagination. 

Blank will share the untold story of the momentous eight-day, three-hour mission by Armstrong, Aldrin and Michael Collins and the men and women of NASA who made the mission possible. We’ll learn about the successes and failures of the Apollo project and the many innovations and discoveries that grew from the project. He will describe the machines that got the astronauts to the moon and back, the challenges faced in building them, and why the first “simple” mission profiles had to be scrapped in favor of a fantastically dangerous and never-before-attempted technique called "lunar orbit rendezvous."

Blank became interested in the solar system when, as a boy, he glimpsed Jupiter and its moons through a telescope high in the Sierra Nevada; his life was changed forever. While Blank did not become an astronaut, his lifelong interest in space exploration and astronomy has led him to spend much of his free time as a solar-system ambassador for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Blank is co-founder of the Fountain Hills Astronomy Club. As a passionate "sidewalk astronomer," he can often be found outside, sharing views through his telescope with the public. His amateur research interests include measuring the sizes and shapes of distant asteroids and searching for previously undiscovered binary-star systems. When not enjoying astronomy, Blank works as a performance engineer for a large software company.

Tickets to all Monday Morning Lectures are $5 at the door of the Renaissance Theater.


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