Experience Flagstaff’s scientific role in the Apollo Moon missions and the Flagstaff Lunar Legacy 18-month celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the first Moon landing. Mark your calendar for the Flagstaff lunar legacy launch event on Friday, July 20.
Enjoy a free concert, kids activities, special guests and presentations at the Orpheum Theater. Doors open at 5 p.m. with program liftoff at 5:30 p.m.
When Neil Armstrong stepped onto the Moon on July 20, 1969, he at once met the audacious challenge of President John F. Kennedy to land an American safely on the Moon, while turning our species into citizens of the world. Over the ensuing three years, 11 other people walked on and explored the Moon.
This made possible only with years of preparation occurring in Northern Arizona, including astronautoscience training, instrument development and lunar mapping.
Flagstaff’s lunar milestones:
Every one of the 12 astronauts who walked on the Moon, from Neil Armstrong to Gene Cernan, prepared for their journey in Northern Arizona.
Artists worked with scientists at Lowell Observatory to create detailed lunar topographic maps, while cartographers at the USGS Flagstaff Science Campus developed geological maps of the Moon.
USGS Flagstaff Science Campus scientists taught astronauts geological principles and techniques at Meteor Crater, the Grand Canyon, Sunset Crater, and the cinder fields that blanket Northern Arizona.
Astronauts studied the Moon through telescopes at Lowell Observatory, Northern Arizona University and the US Naval Observatory. In addition, the Museum of Northern Arizona supplied office space.
Using explosives, scientists created a simulated lunar surface in the cinder field near Sunset Crater, complete with a network of craters modeled after authentic Moon craters for training astronauts and testing several lunar rover vehicle simulators (moon buggies) in the surrounding volcanic features.
For decades, Flagstaff has and continues to be an epicenter for space science studies.
The liftoff event launches July 20 in downtown Flagstaff at the Orpheum Theater and there are Flagstaff happenings throughout 2019, which include exhibits, lectures, book signings, demonstrations, lunar photography, guided hikes, entertainment and restaurants and bars offering moon-themed dishes and drinks. A calendar of events is available at
By Meg Roederer, a communications specialist at the Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Construction of Cinder Lake Crater Field #2 east of Flagstaff, a simulated lunar
consisting of 354 craters created with explosives, July 1968.
USGS Field Test Support Unit (left to right) Dick Wiser, John Hendricks,
Bill Tinnin and
Putty Mills with the Explorer, a lunar rover vehicle simulator at Cinder
Lake Crater Field east of Flagstaff,