When I was younger I was fascinated by the changing shape of the moon, and naively believed that my grandad had taken a munch out of it, so when the National Maritime Museum announced an exhibition dedicated to Earth’s celestial neighbour I couldn’t wait to see it.
The exhibition has been open since July, running until January 2020, I was away for the press preview and I decided to wait for my mum to come down to see it, and it was well worth the wait.
It does, of course, celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, with incredible photographs taken inside mission control, the space race, and future possibilities of living on the moon, but it also explores the cultural and scientific story of our relationship with the Moon, delving into why it captivates and inspires.
The exhibition features over 180 objects, with the oldest being a Mesopotamian Tablet from 172 BCE that shows how lunar eclipses were considered to be bad omens, as well a fascinating selection of cultural artefacts on our relationship with the earth, artworks from the liked of John Constable and JMW Turner, as well as the most stunning interactive view of the Moon phases that will have you mesmerised.
There is also a large focus on the space race and the moon landings, including objects from the Apollo mission that travelled to the Moon, the ‘Snoopy Cap’ Communications Carrier, worn by astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar samples collected by NASA, and a very interesting section detailing all the Soviet ‘firsts’, which have ultimately been overshadowed in history by Neil Armstrong’s ‘one small step’ in July 1969.
The final section of the exhibition concentrates on the current renewed drive to return to the Moon, sharing proposed missioned by Europe, Europe, India, Israel, Japan, Russia and the United States, in a new international space race filled with various space agencies, private companies and entrepreneurs. There is an interesting look at the practical, psychological and ethical implications of human exploration and settlement on the Moon, as well as what life on the Moon might look like.