For as long as he can remember, Kevin Williams, associate professor in the Earth Sciences and Science Education Department and director of the Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium, has been fascinated with space and the moon.
With the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing coming up, Williams will have the opportunity to share his love of all things lunar with the community.
Buffalo State will celebrate the first moon landing on Saturday, July 20, in the LoRusso Alumni and Visitor Center from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
“The moon has always been a main interest of mine because it’s so easy to see,” said Williams. “It’s not like, ‘Ok, that little dot there is Mars.’ You can look at the moon and see differences between the light and dark regions.”
Hosted by the planetarium, the event will include hands-on activities, Apollo trivia, rocket simulations, exhibits, lectures, videos, and more, all dedicated to the first moon landing. Space-themed food and refreshments also will be served.
While Williams wasn’t alive for the moon landing in 1969, he’s talked to many people who were. With the country in crisis over problems domestic and abroad, the moon landing offered hope in a time where there wasn’t much optimism for the future.
“The moon landing was a beacon of hope for people around the world,” he said, noting that most people who were alive for it remember where they were when it happened. “People thought, 'If we can do that, then things might not be so bad.'”
Most people have a connection with the moon, Williams said, because it’s so clearly visible. Going forward, there may be more exploration of the moon, as well as other avenues of space. The space shuttle program ended in 2011, but there’s a new vehicle being built for launching U.S. astronauts into space, the Space Launch System.
“That’s the new rocket for the U.S. in terms of bringing humans to the space station, and the moon, and Mars,” he said. “It’s supposed to launch next year, but they have been doing a lot of testing already.”
The cost to attend the moon landing event is $10/person for ages 13 and up, $5 for children ages 5–12, and free for children under 4. The deadline to register is noon on Friday, July 19. Walk-ins are welcome the day of the event. Call (716) 878-6001 with questions.
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