Author Archives: The National Air and Space Museum

The First Pictures from the Moon’s Surface

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Half a century ago, in February and June 1966, robotic spacecraft first landed on the Moon. I vividly remember those events from my days as a 14-year-old space buff. On February 3, the Soviet Union’s Luna 9 thumped down on the vast lava plain known as Oceanus Procellarum (Ocean of Storms), after a number of   …Continue Reading


Obscure Objects: Mary E. “Mother” Tusch Plaque

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“God bless you,” was the way in which “Mother” Tusch said farewell to pilots who visited her at her Berkeley, California cottage from 1915 to 1950, so it is fitting that the phrase is engraved on this plaque found among her vast collection of aviation memorabilia. This bronze commemorative plaque measures 50.8 x 1.3 x   …Continue Reading


Adjusting Our Atomic Clock for the Leap Second

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Our exhibition Time and Navigation features an atomic clock that will keep an accurate time within a tiny fraction of a second for the foreseeable future (see my earlier post to learn how atomic clocks work and how we installed ours into the exhibition). Except, of course, when we need to account for a leap second.  What’s   …Continue Reading


A “Box of Time” in the Time and Navigation Exhibition

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In our exhibition Time and Navigation visitors can set their watches by a working cesium frequency standard, commonly known as an “atomic clock,” on loan from the National Museum of American History. The exhibit allows visitors to see different methods of measuring time, including mechanical and electrical clocks. A digital display on the atomic clock shows the global   …Continue Reading


Inside the Sally K. Ride Papers – Now Open for Research

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Last October, we announced that we had acquired the collection of Sally K. Ride, the first American woman in space. Now, we can share that the archival portion of the collection has been processed and is available for research! See our finding aid for more detailed information. The Sally K. Ride collection consists of more   …Continue Reading