July 18 gala brought together Apollo 11 crew mates: Mike Collins and Buzz Aldrin.
Credit: Cat Vinton

 

In a historical retro-fire, it was 48 years ago today that the first human landing on the Moon took place – the seminal space voyage of Apollo 11 that saw Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk across the lunar landscape.

That signature event was saluted last weekend at the Kennedy Space Center – a gala that was hosted by Buzz Aldrin, the Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 11, joined on stage by Michael Collins, Command Module Pilot for Apollo 11, Walt Cunningham of Apollo 7 and Harrison “Jack” Schmitt of Apollo 17 – the last expedition to the Moon in December 1972.

Left to right: Walt Cunningham, Mike Collins, Buzz Aldrin, Jack Schmitt.
Credit: Cat Vinton

Red carpet

Aldrin rolled out a “red carpet for the Red Planet” to commemorate 48 years since Apollo 11’s Moon landing on July 20, 1969 and also to start the countdown to the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary in July, 2019.

The impressive gathering was held under the historic Apollo Saturn V rocket at the Kennedy Space Center.

The fashionable star-studded gala was held to raise funds for Buzz Aldrin’s non-profit ShareSpace Foundation, which undertakes programs that will drive education and help develop the next generation of space innovators who will lead humanity to future habitation of Mars.

Apollo 11’s Buzz Aldrin addresses gala attendees.
Credit: Cat Vinton

Cycling pathways

“I’ve been planning Mars missions for decades with my Cycling Pathways to Mars concept to create a permanent human settlement on Mars,” Aldrin says. “We left a plaque on the Moon that said ‘We Came in Peace for All Mankind’…that was the spirit of Apollo and the spirit I want to carry on to Mars,” he adds.

With the 50th Anniversary of our first Moon landing coming up in 2019, Aldrin says that “now is the time to remind the world that we can achieve ‘the impossible’ again” if we inspire the public through Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) education.

Silent, live auctions

At the exclusive Saturday event on July 15, Aldrin oversaw the auctioning of some unique auction lots donated from pioneers in the worlds of space, polar and aviation exploration.

Space gala underneath Saturn V booster.
Credit: Cat Vinton

Highly collectible memorabilia included a First Day Cover signed by all three Apollo 11 crew members, flown to the surface of the Moon, a signed, framed sample of Kapton foil from the Apollo 11 Command Module, and a signed, boxed OMEGA Speedmaster “Moonwatch.” Also grabbing high-stepping dollars were the shoes worn by Buzz Aldrin for the TV show, Dancing with the Stars!

Dancing with the Stars – a shoe-in.
Credit: ShareSpace

Significant funds were raised to inspire and enable future generations to make scientific advancements that will lead to humans living on Mars: $57,838 from a silent auction and $134,950 from the live auction.

Fund-raising campaign

The Apollo 11 gala event is the first part of an ambitious three-year fund-raising campaign devised by the ShareSpace Foundation. That campaign culminates in the summer of 2019 with numbers of global activities staged to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the first Moon landing.

Interactive Mars map.
Credit: Chuck Davis

In the past year, the ShareSpace Foundation gifted 100 Giant Mars Maps all over the United States and internationally to schools and education centers, enabling students to discover Mars first hand via an interactive floor map depicting the topography of Mars, as well as the landing locations of NASA’s Mars robots.

For more information on ShareSpace visit:

www.sharespace.org

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