Apollo 11 Fiftieth Anniversary Event at National Museum Wales, Cardiff - 20 July 2019

Possibly only one small step for a man ...... but definitely lots of steps for the CAS outreach team which participated in the Apollo 11 fiftieth anniversary event at the National Museum Wales (NWM) on Saturday, 20th July.

Preparation for the day had begun the previous autumn when we, fortunately, just managed to 'get under the wire' and book a loan of lunar samples from the Science Technology and Facilities Council. We had the last available booking and, using this as an indicator of the level of public interest, I quickly placed an order with them for the specially compiled Moon project books and lunar maps for distribution at outreach events. They sat at my home in readiness for seven months, and most were snapped up and, I hope, much enjoyed.

Also purchased to greet people by the entrance to the NMW on the day was another cardboard cut-out of Buzz Aldrin in the iconic space suit and stance that have been used many times to signify the first lunar landing by humans. Many visitors enjoyed having their photo taken "wearing" the suit!

We were kept very busy throughout the day: we had our usual CAS table of free information and merchandise organised by Ann Bennet and Kayleigh Churchill; lunar maps with Apollo landing sites marked were supplied by member Ian Davies to add to his amazingly accurate model of a Saturn V rocket; Katrin Raynor-Evans exhibited some of her extensive collection of space and astronomy-themed postage stamps from around the world; Mike Foley had the usual crowd around his table as he enthralled and engaged people and children with his images.

In addition, I had brought along a collection of memorabilia and scrapbooks which go back to the Gemini 7 mission (1965) and forward to the space shuttle programme (started in 1981), and Joan Payne and Kath Compton supervised the lunar samples whilst at the same time making the samples available for people to inspect closely and have photos taken with them.

The lunar theme continued with several inflatable model Moons hanging from the museum balconies, and Bob and Lin Love, Bob Biss, Stephen Webber and Jeff Mansfield were kept busy at telescopes giving adults and children alike a virtual lunar observation experience.

People were seen reading through our display of the front pages of the Western Mail and South Wales Echo from the eight days of the Apollo 11 mission. Thanks must go to the staff of the Cathays Heritage Library for giving instruction on using their microfiche system and for being very helpful.

Phill Wallace, our Chairperson, presented two talks to a capacity audience. His fame is spreading and, keeping up what has become a tradition, he supplied the chocolate!

Appreciation must also be expressed to Edward Cooper for his IT skills and for working alongside Jim Hennessy, Gordon Harries and Owen Cornelius in carrying, fetching, standing in, unpacking and packing, and being all round thoroughly helpful chaps.

This was one of the biggest events we have participated in; it took months to pull all the resources together and we're unlikely to be invited to an event as significant again. It took a lot of effort from a good number of CAS members to make this work but as the saying goes 'You get out what you put in'.

It was an excellent day, thoroughly enjoyed. Many thanks to all our friends at NMW. I think that by 4 p.m. we were all lunar-ed out! But very happy.

Theresa Cooper - CAS Public Events Organiser