Innovation

Celebrating 50 Years on the Moon

Apollo 11 Saturn V Rocket Projected On The Washington Monument
The 50 year anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission with NASA astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin is celebrated in a 17-minute show, “Apollo 50: Go for the Moon” which combined full-motion projection-mapping artwork on the Washington Monument and archival footage to recreate the launch of Apollo 11 and tell the story of the first moon landing, Friday, July 19, 2019 in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)
NASA/Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images

The Washington Monument looked a little different this past weekend as crowds flocked to witness a spectacular light show in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. To honor the mission that put two men on the moon, a 363-foot rendering of NASA’s Saturn V rocket was projected onto the monument with the help of 24 projectors. Two screens and an authentic replica of the countdown clock from the Kennedy Space Center were also featured during the spectacular light show, imitating the revolutionary launch.

The Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum hired Studio 59 Productions, best known for their work during the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Summer Olympics, to put on this breathtaking display. The production crew jumped through hoops to get approval from U.S. Congress and the White House, while also collaborating with the Department of the Interior to complete the project. While many sleep-deprived hours were put into this extravagant show, the celebration was an overwhelming success, delighting crowds of onlookers assembled on the National Mall.

“The moon landing was one of history’s greatest adventures,” executive producer Nick Partridge told PBS NewsHour. The impressive, well-choreographed projection “creates this really powerful visual to symbolize and emphasize the position of the moon landing in American identity.”

Read more about the celebration of Apollo 11’s 50th anniversary here: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/apollo-11-celebration-launches-from-national-mall-with-a-monumental-display

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