Memorial Spaceflights

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[caption id="attachment_1872" align="aligncenter" width="580"]Astronauts driving lunar rover in desert Astronauts learning to drive a model of the lunar rover in Arizona, where Celestis participant Dr. Eugene Shoemaker trained them to collect lunar soil samples. This earthbound training vehicle was called "Grover the Geologic Rover."  Credit: US Geological Survey[/caption]

12 people have walked on the Moon, and one person – planetary geologist Dr. Eugene Shoemaker – is buried there.

Known primarily for his discovery of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 that dramatically impacted Jupiter in 1994, Shoemaker also played a key role in training the Apollo astronauts.

[caption id="attachment_1877" align="alignright" width="375"]Artificial crater field An artificial crater field, near Flagstaff, Arizona, created by the US Geological Survey in the early 1960s for astronaut training. Credit: US Geological Survey[/caption]

Shoemaker taught the astronauts about lunar formations and geologic features in the Grand Canyon, Meteor Crater and other locations in Arizona that roughly resemble the lunar surface or at least provide venues for learning the basics of geology. To make the training even more realistic, the US Geological Survey used backhoes and explosives to create artificial crater fields in Arizona where the astronauts drove a lunar rover model and took soil samples while dressed in spacesuits.

[caption id="attachment_1875" align="aligncenter" width="560"]Astronauts training in the desert Astronauts training before a rough model of the Lunar Lander in Arizona during the 1960s.  Credit: US Geological Survey[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1827" align="alignleft" width="200"]Eugene M. Shoemaker Eugene M. Shoemaker flew to the Moon on Celestis' first Luna Service mission.[/caption]

Shoemaker very much wanted to be an Apollo astronaut, but a minor health issue prevented that from happening. So Celestis was proud to help friends of Dr. Shoemaker include a symbolic portion of his remains on the NASA Lunar Prospector mission that impacted the lunar surface in July 1999. This mission marked the first Celestis Luna Service flight. Fulfilling the dream of spaceflight is what Celestis is all about.

Further Reading

To Boldly Go: Nichelle Nichols’ 90th Celebrated With Unveiling of Foundation

When Star Trek's Nichelle Nichols died in late July at age 89, she was lauded as the trailblazer she was during her lifetime. However, her story is far from over. In early 2023, she will fly alongside the DNA of her son, Kyle Johnson, aboard Celestis’ Enterprise Flight. In addition, the Nichelle Nichols Foundation – announced today, on what would have been her 90th birthday – will continue to promote diversity in STEM fields.

By Celestis
on 12/28/2022
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