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The Science of Apollo

March 28, 2019,7:00 pm - 8:15 pm

Photo: Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt collects lunar samples at Taurus-Littrow, December 11, 1972. NASA photograph AS17-134-20425.


Opening event for the exhibition, To the Moon: The Science of Project Apollo.

The exhibition and this program are presented by the Linda Hall Library Foundation
and made possible through a generous gift from Mike and Millie Brown.


The program

Apollo astronauts collected over 800 pounds of rock and soil samples from the lunar surface. Scientists from all over the world have studied these samples, which has led to a deeper understanding of the moon’s origin and the geologic history of the earth. Today, scientists continue to examine Apollo moon rocks with tools and techniques that were unavailable even a decade ago.

Join best-selling author and space historian Andrew Chaikin in conversation with a panel of experts, including Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt, on the science of Project Apollo and the benefits to society of future planetary exploration.

The host

Award-winning science journalist and space historian Andrew Chaikin has authored books and articles about space exploration and astronomy for more than three decades. Chaikin is best known as the author of A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts, widely regarded as the definitive account of the moon missions. A graduate of Brown University with a B.A. in geology, Chaikin served on the Viking missions to Mars at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory before becoming a science journalist.


The panel

Gerry Griffin was a Flight Director during Project Apollo, including Lead Flight Director for Apollos 12, 15, and 17. Later, he served as Deputy Director of the Kennedy Space Center and the Dryden Flight Research Center. In 1982, he became the second director of the Johnson Space Center, a position he held for four years. Mr. Griffin earned a BS in aeronautical engineering from Texas A&M University.



Clive Neal is a professor of geological sciences at the University of Notre Dame and chair of NASA’s Lunar Exploration Analysis Group. He has over 22 years of experience in working with lunar samples to unravel the history of the Moon through studying their petrography and geochemistry. He earned a BS in geology from the University of Leicester and a PhD from the University of Leeds.



In December 1972, geologist and astronaut Harrison Schmitt spent three days on the moon during Apollo 17, the last of six manned missions to explore the lunar surface. From 1977 to 1982, he was a U.S. Senator from New Mexico. Today, he is a writer and speaker on matters related to space, science, technology, and public policy. Dr. Schmitt earned a BS from Caltech and a PhD in geology from Harvard University. Please note that Dr. Schmitt will not be signing autographs.


Admission tickets

The event is free and open to the public; however, e-tickets are required. Registration for e-tickets will open at 9:00 a.m. on February 14, 2019. A limited number of seats will be available.


Parking is free in Library parking lots and along the west side of Holmes Street between 51st and 52nd streets. The main entrance to the Library grounds is on Cherry Street. The Linda Hall Library is not affiliated with UMKC. Parking in all UMKC lots is by permit or meter. Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

Further reading




March 28, 2019
7:00 pm - 8:15 pm
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Eric Ward


Linda Hall Library
5109 Cherry
Kansas City, MO 64110 United States
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For reservation questions, please email events@lindahall.org or call 816.926.8772 to leave a message.

Contact Eric Ward at 816.926.8753 for more information on these events.