BY AMY MARCHIANO
Adrian Portland, lead science teacher at Pottsville Area High School, is “super stoked” about the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon mission this week.
“It’s such a huge accomplishment,” he said Monday. “It is arguably one of the greatest human achievements in recorded history to be able to travel 239,000 miles and walk on a another surface other than the earth.”
In honor of the historic occasion, a free Apollo Day Celebration event has been scheduled for noon to 6 p.m. Saturday outside the football stadium at the high school. Vendors including craft and food, exhibits and other activities are planned. Entertainment is also planned.
A history of the mission will be discussed, as will the history of the high school’s planetarium, built in 1966, at 1, 3 and 5 p.m. A $5 donation is welcome for the history discussion and will go to the science department at the high school.
Portland hopes a couple hundred people will attend. There is no rain date.
Roger Wehbe, owner of Martian Materials Meteorite Store at 18 N. Second St., Pottsville, will have a stand at the school for people to view pieces of history from the mission and items from his store. He has a tiny piece of foil from the command module Columbia and metal shavings from the Eagle module, which landed on the moon. Wehbe said he has documentation to authenticate the pieces.
Astronauts Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins blasted off for the moon 50 years ago today from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Aldrin and Armstrong landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, (50 years ago this coming Saturday) in the lunar module Eagle, while Collins orbited the moon in the command module Columbia. The trio returned to earth July 24.
The science department is also offering tickets to see the moon during a lunar viewing event at the observatory between 10:30 p.m. Friday and 12:30 a.m. Saturday.
Several telescopes are available and participants can see the moon on TVs as well. There is a rain date, Saturday and Sunday at the same times.
“We are going to look at some of the Apollo landing sites,” Portland said, although it will be only an estimation of the location.
Of the 50 tickets available, 18 remained as of Monday. Call 570-617-8035 for tickets, which are $10.
More information is available on the Apollo Day Lunar Landing Celebration Facebook page or the Pottsville Area High School Planetarium and Observatory Facebook page.
“People have been pretty excited to be able to view the moon 50 years after man walked on it for the first time,” Portland said.
Contact the writer: 570-628-6028