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von Kármán Lecture - Moon Struck! Celebrating Apollo's 50th Anniversary

Friday, July 12, 2019
7:00pm to 8:30pm
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Beckman Auditorium
JPL and Caltech researchers and staff,
  • Public Event

Note: The location for this event has changed from Ramo Auditorium to the larger Beckman Auditorium.

As part of the intense, decade-long effort that led to human footprints on the lunar surface, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory launched a series robotic precursors to the Moon. It proved a formidable challenge — the first six missions failed, putting at risk the laboratory's ambitions to explore the solar system.

Meanwhile, Caltech—which operates JPL for NASA—established a laboratory in the mid-1960s to help develop the new techniques that would be needed for analyzing lunar samples. And once the Apollo 11 Moon rocks were on the ground, the Caltech researchers raced to contribute to the first stunning scientific results NASA shared with the world.

This event will focus on understanding the supporting roles these institutions played in one of humanity's greatest achievements, and consider what might lie ahead in exploring the Moon. Take a journey back in time to learn how JPL found its way to success in the early days of the space race and how both Caltech and JPL have contributed to exploring and understanding our nearest celestial neighbor.

Host: Preston Dyches


Blaine Baggett — JPL Fellow and Emmy award-winning producer
Arden Albee — Caltech Professor of Geology and Planetary Science, Emeritus
John Casani — JPL veteran engineer of the Ranger and Surveyor era

This is a free event; no tickets or reservations are required.

About the Series

The Theodore von Kármán Lecture Series, named after JPL's founder, and presented by JPL's Office of Communication and Education, brings the excitement of the space program's missions, instruments and other technologies to both JPL employees and the local community. Lectures take place twice per month, on consecutive Thursdays and Fridays. The Thursday lectures take place in JPL's Theodore von Kármán Auditorium and are streamed live via Ustream, and Friday lectures take place in Caltech's Ramo Auditorium. Both start at 7:00 p.m. Admission and parking are free for all lectures. No reservations are required, but seating is limited. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

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For more information, please contact the Caltech Ticket Office by phone at 626-395-4652 or by email at [email protected].