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Apollo 17 50th Anniversary Celebration

  • Friday, December 09, 2022
  • 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Join us as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 17!  Museum astrophysicists Dr. Rachel Smith and Dr. Patrick Treuthardt will talk about Apollo 17, the last mission that put humans on the Moon.  After the talks, go take a look at the Moon through a telescope with the Raleigh Astronomy Club!

Schedule of Programs

6:00pm — Silent Sky Monologue

OpenSpace visualization of the Apollo 17 landing site with astronaut footpaths and rover tracks. Image: Rachel L. Smith.

6:10pm — Apollo 17: The Last Mission to the Moon*

This December marks 50 years since Apollo 17, the last mission that put humans on the Moon. Dr. Rachel Smith will describe this historic mission, its experiments and astronauts, and its legacy as we plan to send astronauts once again to our only natural satellite. She will also introduce the Museum’s lunar rocks and the importance of the Moon both for science and to the existence of life on Earth. A portion of this presentation will utilize data visualization software called OpenSpace, and will show various parts of the lunar surface and the landing site for Apollo 17 astronauts on the date of the landing.

About our speaker

Dr. Rachel L. Smith is the Head of the Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Lab and Curator of Meteorites at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. She is also an Associate Professor at Appalachian State University and Adjunct Professor at UNC-Chapel Hill. She studies forming stars across the Galaxy, and how they inform the evolution of planets and our solar system.

Moon behind branches by Quinton Coetzee

7:00 pm — Our Neighbor, The Moon**

The Earth’s only natural satellite, the Moon, has some unusual properties when compared to other moons in the Solar System. We will discuss some obvious and more obscured lunar features, as well as mysteries still being investigated.

About our speaker

Dr. Patrick Treuthardt is the Assistant Head of the Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Lab at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. His research is focused on understanding the evolution of nearby galaxies through the study of their different forms, structures, and dynamics.

This program will be livestreamed on the Museum’s YouTube channel.

8:00 pm — Lunar Viewing on the Plaza

Take a peek at the full Moon through telescopes with members of the Raleigh Astronomy Club!  Have you ever wanted to walk on the Moon?  They will be projecting the Moon onto the sidewalk, so here’s your chance to stand on our neighbor in space!

*This program is recommended for ages 8 and up.
**This program is recommended for ages 12 and up.


December 9, 2022
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Kari Wouk


Bicentennial Plaza, WRAL 3D Theater

Downtown Raleigh
11 West Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27601 United States
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