Author Archives: The National Air and Space Museum

How We Saw the Moon: Top Ten Apollo Images

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On February 26, 2016, we opened our latest exhibition of imagery, A New Moon Rises, in our Art Gallery. These stunning images of our largest satellite show, with amazing clarity, our nearest planetary neighbor. But not nearly as clearly as the Apollo astronauts saw it. Here is my top ten list of the most amazing   …Continue Reading


Observing the Surface of Venus with the Arecibo Telescope

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This past summer I had the opportunity to operate the world’s largest single-dish telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Before my current position as a postdoctoral researcher at the Museum’s Center for Earth and Planetary Studies (CEPS), I had never operated such a large instrument, much less a 305 meter- (1,000 feet-) wide   …Continue Reading


Investigating the Writing on Columbia’s Walls

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I recently shared that we uncovered handwritten notes and markings inside the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia—the spacecraft that carried astronauts Armstrong, Collins, and Aldrin into lunar orbit and home on their historic voyage of July 1969. As part of our collaboration with the Smithsonian’s Digitization Program Office to create a detailed 3D model of   …Continue Reading


Obscure Objects: Ruth Law’s World War I Liberty Bonds Leaflet

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No one could say Ruth Law was a novice. She had been flying since 1912. She was the first woman to fly at night, in a biplane purchased from Orville Wright. She was the first woman to make a living as a professional pilot, ferrying guests to and from the Clarendon Hotel near Daytona, Florida,   …Continue Reading


Remembering Test Pilot Eric Melrose “Winkle” Brown

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A Tribute to British Royal Navy officer and experimental test pilot Captain Eric Melrose “Winkle” Brown (27 January 1919 – 21 February 2016) I met Eric Brown in April 2013 at the Royal Air Force Club in Piccadilly, London. Enthusiastically, he had agreed to this meeting to answer my research questions. The first thing I   …Continue Reading