Courtesy of NASA/JPL/USGS


Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon with an in-depth look at four unique outcomes of this momentous event, led by four esteemed professors.

This unique series is offered by The Great Courses (an educational streaming video on demand company), a new course on what most people still don’t know about exploration of Earth’s neighbor, the Moon.

One of the Apollo 16 sample boxes being opened in the Lunar Receiving Laboratory on Earth. The box contains a large rock and many small sample bags.
Credit: NASA/Johnson Space Center

The lecture series features:

Moon Rock Revelations: An Inside Story

What can the samples collected by the Apollo astronauts tell us about the Moon? Neil Armstrong and his fellow explorers were able to bring back about 50 pounds of rocks and soils that revealed things about the Moon that we had never known, or even surmised. Join Professor Bob Hazen, mineralogist and crystallographer, to uncover what the Moon is made of, how the Earth and the Moon are intimately connected, and the minerals that form the Moon.

Geologist Harrison Schmitt performs Moon tasks during Apollo 17 mission in December 1972.
Credit: NASA

Viewing Apollo Landing Sites from Earth

Join Ed Murphy, professor and astronomer, to go outside and really view the Moon—the complex geology, mountains, lava flows, volcanic domes, and more. Discover and recognize what you can and can’t see with your naked eye, binoculars, and a telescope, as well as learn the best time to view the Moon. Once you’ve established the Moon’s topography, Professor Murphy shows you how to orient your viewing to the location of the Apollo 11 landing and what, exactly, you are seeing.

Credit: NASA/Curtin University

Moon Rocks Reveal a Wild Early Solar System?

In a story that sounds like the basis for a science fiction blockbuster, Professor Sabine Stanley, the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins University demonstrates how studying Moon rocks has suggested a large number of meteor collisions in our solar system about four billion years ago—known as the Late Heavy Bombardment. See how this Moon event, which occurred during a concentrated time period of 200 million years, has implied that giant planets migrated during their formation—a possibility many scientists never considered.

Soviet technician working on Sputnik 1, 1957.
Credit: ESA/Sovfoto/

Geopolitics of Space: Past, Present, Future

The Apollo space mission was more than just a giant leap for mankind in terms of scientific developments and insights into both space and Earth, it was also a huge step in advancing America’s position in the geopolitical world as the Cold War extended into space. Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, the Lindsay Young Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Study of War and Society, invites you to investigate how the Space Race was not just a matter of prestige, but how it also established a claim on the future for the “winner’s” values, ideology, and way of life.

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