Moon Rock Exhibit Celebrates 50th Anniversary Of Moon Landing

Jul 11, 2019

The University of Georgia’s Richard B. Russell library is celebrating Tuesday the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, with an exhibit of rare items collected during the Apollo 11 mission.

The exhibit includes moon rocks given to the state of Georgia, archival photos and pieces from Sen. Richard B. Russell’s collection.

Russell was an advocate for pursuing space exploration during the Cold War and served on the United States Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences from 1958 until his death in 1971.

The exhibit’s moon rocks were given to the state in 1972.

“President Nixon had a good will mission that gave out moon rocks in the 1970s to all 50 states," said Sarah Anderson, a graduate student intern at the Russell Library for Political Research and Studies. "These rocks were collected on the Apollo 11 mission and the Apollo 17 mission.”

The overall weight of the Apollo 11 spacecraft was an important consideration in the success of the mission. It was able to carry approximately 50 pounds of space matter on its voyage back to earth.

“The rocks that were given to Georgia are quite small, but they are still very important to us as a state,” Anderson said.

After the landings of the Apollo 11 and Apollo 17 missions, Georgia was given the moon rocks and a state flag that was sent to the moon on the Apollo 11 spacecraft.

The moon rocks will be on display Tuesday only, at the Russell library in Athens. Other items in the exhibit will be on display until the end of December.