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"One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." (Neil Armstrong)

June 28, 2021

For many of us, the statement made by Neil Armstrong as he stepped onto the moon July 20, 1969 is simply a mention in the history books, but to those of us who were children and young people glued to the TV set that day, it was an awesome wonder. I was amazed and delighted that human beings had made it to the moon, but I wondered how it was that a camera was there to record the first step. Forty-five years later I met the problem solver who figured out how to attach a camera to the lunar landing module at the perfect angle to capture the first step onto the moon. That man lived right here in Nashville.

That man wasn't the only person I came to know who had worked in the space program. A NASA engineer was a fellow choir member, and another good friend was involved in creating an exercise program for the astronauts while in space.

Thousands of behind-the-scenes engineers, educators, dietitians, mathematicians, physicians, scientists, and more made it all possible. Much time and money have been invested in the space program, and one wonders, "why?"

Space exploration is the best way to learn more about our place and our history in the universe. The side benefits to preparing for the challenges related to the space program are: new technologies, inventions, industries, and international cooperation.

The International Space Station requires international cooperation; an early model is on display at The Marshall Space Center in Huntsville, Alabama. In addition to the station, there are space capsules, space suits, artifacts, experiments from some of the missions, and a space shuttle. The center is a great place to visit and is only two hours from Nashville. Visitor information is available at Https://

Kids can learn more about space, space exploration, and the life of an astronaut by checking out our catalog for these and other books on the topic. Order up some great reading today!

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Donna Reagan has served as Children's Specialist at the Bellevue Branch Library since 2002. She produces My Storytime Place, a local TV show for young children. The ALA's Every Child Ready to Read initiative forms the foundation of her early childhood programming.