50 Years since Tranquility Base: Looking Back, and Ahead, from the Golden Anniversary of the First Moon Landing

AHA Session 117
Friday, January 4, 2019: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Hancock Parlor (Palmer House Hilton, Sixth Floor)
James R. Hansen, Auburn University
Tranquility Base, the Cradle of Our Spacefaring Future
Michele L. Hanlon, For All Moonkind, Inc.
After Apollo: The Legacy of the Moon
Roger Launius, Launius Historical Services
50 Years of Collecting Apollo: A Smithsonian Story
Margaret A. Weitekamp, Smithsonian Institution
The Audience

Session Abstract

An anniversary provides an occasion to look back on the past and to look forward to the future through a clearer historical lens. This panel of speakers—all of whom have published and lectured extensively on the history of space exploration—shall provide diverse analysis and reflective commentary in anticipation of the commemoration of first human space mission to land on the Moon made by Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969. What did the Moon landing mean to the nation and the world in 1969 (culturally, socially, politically, philosophically, technologically), and what does it mean to the nation and the world today? What have been the principal themes in the historiography of the “space age” from the 1960s to the present? In that historiography has there been a predominant “meta-narrative”? What have been the strengths and weaknesses of the meta-narrative of the space age? Is the meta-narrative still useful, or should it be shattered via fresh new inquiries?
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