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Fifty years ago, the world watched as humans first set foot on the moon, and it wouldn’t have been possible without glass. Journey to the Moon: How Glass Got Us There, on display in the Innovation Center beginning June 29, invites visitors to get hands-on and explore the integral role glass has played in space exploration.

“From the development of telescopes to the creation of the Apollo Lunar Module, glass has enabled our increased understanding of and interactions with space in fundamental ways,” said Marvin Bolt, the Museum's curator of science and technology. “This exhibition will look at the direct and tangential ways in which glass played key roles in the culmination of President John F. Kennedy’s Moon Shot.”

 A highlight of the display will be a lunar meteorite with glassy components that visitors will be able to touch. Key objects and artifacts examine the role of glass in making this mission possible, including fiberglass—used in the protective outer layer of spacesuits worn by astronauts, and as insulation for the spacecrafts—and a Gemini window, designed by Corning, Inc. for the space shuttle windshield. Made of fused silica, this glass is able to withstand the heat of reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. Visitors to the Museum will be able to see this glass in action during a Hot Glass Demo, as a piece of it sits between a 2,400°F reheating furnace and a camera allowing onlookers to see inside. A moonwalk montage will provide visuals of the lunar landing, revealing how glass on our TV screens gave everyone on Earth a first glimpse at the moon, and that glass in our TVs and devices still provides us a window through which to view important moments today.

“We first saw the moon up close through glass in our telescopes, opening our minds to what lies beyond Earth’s atmosphere,” said Bolt. “We visited the moon in a spacecraft made of glass, and we walked on its surface in glass spacesuits. And everyone back at home watched it happen through the glass on their TV screens. Once Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, we discovered that its surface was glassy. Glass has provided us not only a lens but a vehicle to make possible the journey to the moon.”

Also available is a special Make Your Own Glass moon ornament. Price $32, Age 10 and up.