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Boeing-built moon buggies win landmark status

Astronaut John Young and lunar rover
Apollo 16 astronaut John Young collects samples near the mission’s lunar rover in 1972. (NASA Photo)

King County now has three landmarks that are out of this world. Literally.

Tonight, the King County Landmarks Commission unanimously approved historic landmark designation for the Boeing-built rovers that were left behind on the moon by the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 missions nearly a half-century ago.

The landmark decision, delivered during a meeting in Kent, Wash., came in response to a request from Kent city officials and the Kent Downtown Partnership. Why Kent? That’s where the Boeing assembled and tested the lunar rovers.

“Above all, the designation for the City of Kent acts as a reminder of the dedicated engineers who changed history through the creation of the Lunar Roving Vehicles 50 years ago,” Kent Mayor Dana Ralph said in a statement. “The momentous recognition for Kent Valley allows for continued education and remembrance of the tangible impact these vehicles have had on space exploration indefinitely.”

The next step will be to win landmark recognition from Washington state and get the rovers added to the Washington Heritage Register.

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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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