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Space fans set to celebrate Apollo 11 anniversary

Apollo exhibit
Lisa Young, conservator at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, adjusts the gloves that Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin wore on the moon, on display as part of the “Destination Moon” exhibit at Seattle’s Museum of Flight. Aldrin’s helmet and visor can be seen on display, and in the famous moon picture seen in the background at left. (Museum of Flight Photo)

The countdown is on for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and that means the appointment books for space luminaries and their fans are filling up like the propellant tanks on a Saturn V rocket.

Seattle’s Museum of Flight is one of the epicenters for the festivities, thanks to its status as the next stopover for the Smithsonian Institution’s traveling “Destination Moon” exhibit. Due to a remodeling project at the National Air and Space Museum, some of the choicest Apollo artifacts are going on the road. The Museum of Flight will be hosting the exhibit starting next month and running all the way through the July 20 anniversary into the Labor Day weekend.

Just this week, curators worked in a sealed-off section of the museum to get the helmet and the gloves worn by Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin ready for the exhibit. A magnifying glass was positioned near the cuff of a glove to give museumgoers a close look at the checklist of tasks Aldrin was given for his moonwalk. The checklist reminded him about an important chore: taking a picture of a bootprint.

“Destination Moon” officially opens on April 13, but VIPs will get sneak peeks starting a couple of weeks before that date. There’s a luncheon for museum members on March 30, featuring talks by Apollo flight directors Glynn Lunney, Gerry Griffin and Milt Windler. A members-only preview of the exhibit is planned for April 6.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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