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The Vision of Space Exploration

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Today marks the 50-year anniversary of the iconic mission of Apollo 11 and the historic moon landing. To celebrate this moment in history, PBS created Summer of Space, a collection of powerful films which explore space exploration and its relevance today. Our film Earthrise was included in the national broadcast this past week.

We had the pleasure of hosting a screening of Earthrise at the ISTE conference last month in Philadelphia. In a post-screening panel discussion, I moderated an engaging conversation with WGBH STEM director Dr. Rachel Connolly, NASA scientist Dr. Alex Young, and ELA high school teacher Matt Hamilton. We discussed how the Earthrise image and the Apollo program provide opportunities to teach about social and citizen science.

Fifty years after the Earthrise image was taken, it still captures a collective imagination and creates a sense of wonder and awe. Director of Earthrise, Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee shares his reflections.

The iconic Earthrise photograph and the subsequent Earth imagery NASA shared shifted the vision of space exploration from one that leaves Earth behind to one that marvels in the rare magnificence and beauty of our home planet. It ushered in a collective awareness of the Earth as a whole, transcending borders and boundaries, and came to be used by many to instill a sense of wonder, awe and stewardship toward the planet.

Space Exploration Resources

  • Watch the film Earthrise and access the free discussion/curriclum guide. How might the Earthrise photograph provide a context for what it means to be a global citizen?
  • Bring the universe into your classroom with these digital media resources from PBS Learning Media and WBGH, in collaboration with NASA. This blog post is also a great resource.
  • Celebrate the Apollo missions with NASA. Access a curated collection of resources, events, and STEM engagement resources.
  • Our partners at Moon Landing in Context provide great resources and events reflecting on the moon landing experience and how it has shaped social issues and national/international policies. Join us for an upcoming event in December at Framingham State University near Boston, MA. For more information and to register.

More to Explore

Film
Earthrise

Earthrise tells the story of the first image captured of the Earth from space in 1968.

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Essay
The Space Race is Over

Paul Kingsnorth examines the collective fear of the future and the resurgent concept of space colonization. 

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Essay
The Skeleton of the Isle de Jean Charles

Learn about a tiny island community off the Louisiana coast that is literally losing ground due to climate change.

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