New documentary explores UA's role in moon mission - Tucson News Now

New documentary explores UA's role in moon mission

Lunar researcher Ewen Whitaker, astronomer Gerard Kuiper, both from the UA Lunar and Planetary Lab, with Raymond Heacock from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, posing with a model of the Ranger spacecraft used for early moon missions. Lunar researcher Ewen Whitaker, astronomer Gerard Kuiper, both from the UA Lunar and Planetary Lab, with Raymond Heacock from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, posing with a model of the Ranger spacecraft used for early moon missions.

A new documentary explores how the University of Arizona helped land a man on the moon.  

'Desert Moon' was produced by UA School of Journalism graduate Jason Davis and Shipherd Reed at UA's Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium.

Davis knew UA scientists were among the first to map the moon using telescopes. Digging deeper into the story, he realized UA also contributed to the success of the first moon missions. 

The film explores the work of Gerard Kuiper, an astronomer who came to the UA to better study the moon. The Southwest had some of the best telescopes of the time, plus dark skies and dry desert air provide optimal conditions for space research. Kuiper's work led to NASA funding the construction of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, which remains a leader in planetary science today.

Back when the space race began "we did not know what the composition of the moon was, we didn't know the physical state of the surface, whether you would sink into dust or whether it was rock," according to retired UA planetary scientist Robert Strom.

Kuiper and his team worked with NASA to systematically map the surface of the moon. These maps were then used to determine the best places for astronauts to land. 

'Desert Moon' premieres July 4 at the Flandrau Science Center on the University of Arizona's campus. The file will show Mondays and Wednesdays at 2 PM, plus Fridays and Saturdays at 7 PM.

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now All rights reserved.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • College student arrested; tried to trade chicken Alfredo, Sprite for sex

    College student arrested; tried to trade chicken Alfredo, Sprite for sex

    Thursday, December 14 2017 9:52 AM EST2017-12-14 14:52:41 GMT

    Youngstown State University student Albert Maruna was caught red-handed and arrested this week after he allegedly attempted to have sex with a 15-year-old boy, who turned out to be an undercover officer.  

    Youngstown State University student Albert Maruna was caught red-handed and arrested this week after he allegedly attempted to have sex with a 15-year-old boy, who turned out to be an undercover officer.  

  • Report: 3 women accuse music mogul Russell Simmons of rape

    Report: 3 women accuse music mogul Russell Simmons of rape

    Wednesday, December 13 2017 7:14 PM EST2017-12-14 00:14:28 GMT
    Thursday, December 14 2017 12:05 PM EST2017-12-14 17:05:25 GMT
    Russell Simmons arrives at Universal Music Group's 2017 Grammy After Party at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision for UMG/AP Images)Russell Simmons arrives at Universal Music Group's 2017 Grammy After Party at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision for UMG/AP Images)

    Three women have told the New York Times that music mogul Russell Simmons raped them.

    Three women have told the New York Times that music mogul Russell Simmons raped them.

  • Mississippi school waits three days before telling parents about child's suicide note

    Mississippi school waits three days before telling parents about child's suicide note

    Thursday, December 14 2017 11:37 AM EST2017-12-14 16:37:12 GMT
    Source: WLBTSource: WLBT

    On top of that, it was days before his guardians found out about that plea for help. The boy's grandparents say his teacher, at McCoy Elementary School in Yazoo City, found the note Monday.

    On top of that, it was days before his guardians found out about that plea for help. The boy's grandparents say his teacher, at McCoy Elementary School in Yazoo City, found the note Monday.

Powered by Frankly