Moon Revisited

Journey back to the moon with Moon Revisited, an exclusive Space Center Houston exhibit featuring Apollo-era artifacts, images and spacesuits that will take you on your very own mission of discovery!

The exhibit features artifacts from NASA Johnson Space Center that are seldom on public display. See flown Apollo spacesuits from our permanent collection, such as Pete Conrad’s Apollo 12 moonwalking suit with moon dust still on it.

You also will see breathtaking photos taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), a robotic mission currently mapping the Moon, which include close-up views of the Apollo 11 and Apollo 17 landing sites—the images are sharp enough for visitors to follow the astronaut’s first and last footsteps on the moon.

Learn about lunar exploration and discovery with this unique display of artifacts, images and spacesuits! This display accompanies our new exhibit, Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission, and runs through March 18.

Some of the things you’ll see:

Apollo astronauts carried special tools on their missions. This tool kit was carried in the command module to aid with repairs and to assist in spacecraft operations.

The kit features 16 tools in a beta cloth pouch, including a socket and torque set screwdriver to tighten and realign hardware that might have come loose or become misaligned during launch. The astronaut’s bag of tools also came with a tether, to secure their gadgets as they worked and moved around the spacecraft, and Velcro tabs to seal the kit for safe storage.

The Apollo guidance computer software fit into just 36 kilowords of ROM, or 72KB in today’s terms. Prior to the Apollo program, the smallest computers were the size of a room.

The Apollo guidance computer was one of the first to use computer chips, with a computing speed of roughly 2 megahertz. To put that in perspective, the iPhone 6 operates at around 1.4 gigahertz (1,400 MHz). Your smart phone has more processing power than the computers that sent people to the moon.

Fun fact: The engineers nicknamed the cores LOL memory, for the “little old ladies” who assembled the memory by hand.

This hatch was used to seal the transfer tunnel from the Apollo 17 America command module to the lunar module.

Before the astronauts could enter the lunar module for their trip to the moon’s surface, they had to maneuver the command-service module to properly dock with the lunar module. Once docked, the hatch could be opened and the astronauts could transfer to the lunar module (which was pressurized with oxygen) for their descent to the lunar landscape below.

Gloves like the one pictured here were used by Apollo astronauts when on the lunar surface. The gloves helped protect their hands when setting up experiments and handling samples, and were designed for optimal range of use for the astronaut’s fingers.

The outer layer of the glove is made from cut-resistant fabric while the gauntlet was made from beta cloth, a non-flammable, Teflon-coated fiberglass. The blue silicon tips gave the astronauts a better sense of touch when working on the surface of the moon. There were heaters in the fingertips of the gloves since fingertips are the part of the body that gets the coldest in space.

Fun fact: The gloves would actually be pressurized, meaning that they would inflate like a balloon, making them appear and feel bulky.

Cosmic ray detectors carried on Apollo 16 and 17 measured cosmic rays, which consist of cosmic particles traveling roughly at the speed of light that can harm electronics and humans.

When particles collided with the detectors, they created microscopic tracks that were analyzed to determine the composition of the radiation. It was possible to measure the cosmic rays on the moon due to its lack of atmosphere to block such radiation.

The cosmic ray detector is made from plates of glass, plastic, aluminum, platinum foils and minerals. Some of the ray detectors were mounted to the lunar module to expose them to space.

This joystick was used primarily for docking the command module with the lunar module, where it controlled spacecraft movement up and down, left to right, and forward to aft. A different joystick was used to adjust the spacecraft’s rotation.

The service module provided Apollo astronauts with oxygen, water and electric power for the command module. A liquid fuel rocket engine would steer the spacecraft toward the moon, place it in lunar orbit, and propel it back to Earth after lunar surface exploration.

An injector plate like this one was part of the service module engine. The fuel injector is designed to distribute liquid fuels into the engine’s combustion chamber at just the right mixture ratio, pressure and spray pattern to initiate and sustain combustion to provide thrust.

Don’t miss your chance to see these rarely seen Apollo-era artifacts and explore the moon in Moon Revisited now through March 18.

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