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Desert Moon: A documentary about LPL's founding and early years

On June 27, LPL hosted the first viewing of the film "Desert Moon," a documentary about some of the ways that southern Arizona was involved with the early days of the lunar exploration program in the 1960s.  Naturally, a lot of it is about people who were at LPL at the time (e.g., Gerard P. Kuiper, Ewen A. Whitaker, Alan Binder, Charles Wood, Dale Cruikshank, William Hartmann). The film was produced by recent UA Journalism graduate Jason Davis as part of a NASA Arizona Space Grant graduate fellowship.

Department News

Desert Moon: A documentary about LPL's founding and early years

On June 27, LPL hosted the first viewing of the film "Desert Moon," a documentary about some of the ways that southern Arizona was involved with the early days of the lunar exploration program in the 1960s.  Naturally, a lot of it is about people who were at LPL at the time (e.g., Gerard P. Kuiper, Ewen A. Whitaker, Alan Binder, Charles Wood, Dale Cruikshank, William Hartmann). The film was produced by recent UA Journalism graduate Jason Davis as part of a NASA Arizona Space Grant graduate fellowship. Captain Mark Kelly, a former astronaut who was commander of the last Space Shuttle mission, is the film's narrator.

"Desert Moon" shows regularly at the Flandrau Planetarium on the UA campus. Visit the "Desert Moon" site to see the film trailer, read the "short stories," and access bonus scenes. Some of the story behind "Desert Moon" is also available from UA News.

To the Moon: Ranger 7 and LPL

Department News

To the Moon: Ranger 7 and LPL

LPL was featured in the Tucson Weekly cover story (To The Moon, July 21, 2014) commemorating the 50th anniversary of Ranger 7 (July 31, 1964), the first U.S. spacecraft to take close-up images of the Moon. The article centers on Gerard P. Kuiper and his role in the mission as Principal Investigator, the space race, and the establishment of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. Much of the story is told through personal recollections of Ewen Whitaker (part of Kuiper's team of experimenters for the mission), who provides insider details about the politics and personalities of the time. The article also reminds readers of the world's reaction to the mission and the implications of the science. The article served as an apt complement to this summer's Everything Lunar event and to the première of Desert Moon.

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