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

New documentary explores UA's role in moon mission

Posted: Updated:
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.
  • Most ReadMost ReadMore>>

  • Nogales border fence knocked down by storm

    Nogales border fence knocked down by storm

    Monday, July 28 2014 7:57 AM EDT2014-07-28 11:57:01 GMT
    Border Patrol officials in Nogales say operations are back to normal after a section of the border wall was knocked down.
    Border Patrol officials in Nogales say operations are back to normal after a section of the border wall was knocked down.
  • Man dropped off at hospital with gunshot wound

    Man dropped off at hospital with gunshot wound

    Man dropped off at hospital with gunshot wound

    Monday, July 28 2014 5:37 AM EDT2014-07-28 09:37:03 GMT
    Sergeant Chris Widmer tweeted out the update. He says the 23-year-old man was dropped off at a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
    Sergeant Chris Widmer tweeted out the update. He says the 23-year-old man was dropped off at a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
  • Tucson Streetcar has reported 25,000 riders on Saturday

    Tucson Streetcar has reported 25,000 riders on Saturday

    Sunday, July 27 2014 7:06 PM EDT2014-07-27 23:06:30 GMT
    With free rides being offered all weekend, the streetcar remained packed through its first two days and was busy once again on Sunday.
    With free rides being offered all weekend, the streetcar remained packed through its first two days and was busy once again on Sunday.

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.

Powered by WorldNow