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UK crowd-sourced history campaign marks 50 years since the first Moon landings

Date: 17/05/2019

Ahead of this weekend’s full Moon, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the UK Space Agency are asking people across the UK to share their memories of one of the seminal moments in the 20th century - the 1969 Apollo 11 Moon landing - and to tell their stories about how this moment in history has inspired them.

A selection of the submissions to this crowd-sourced history campaign will be curated and shared with the public on 20 July 2019, marking 50 years since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the Moon.

The campaign is intended not only to unearth fascinating first-hand memories but to explore how the Moon landings touched almost every aspect of popular culture, from cinema to art, literature to music. For anyone who may not have watched the footage live, there is an opportunity to get involved by sharing their stories about how space exploration has inspired them or led to a career in the sector.

Entries could include a grainy photograph of a family huddled around an early television to watch this iconic moment; a scrapbook of newspaper cuttings from July 1969; or a personal account of how the Moon landing has shaped a work of art or led to a lifelong passion for science fiction.

You can submit your memories or stories on the Moon Landing Memories website.

Science Minister Chris Skidmore said:

“Ahead of the 50th Anniversary of the Moon landing, I hope people across the UK share their Moon memories, ranging from photos to diary entries, to help give us a unique and fascinating insight into one of the most celebrated moments in our history.

“Landing on the Moon was unthinkable at the beginning of the twentieth century, so when Neil Armstrong heralded the moment as, ‘one giant leap for mankind,’ those words rightly have echoed through the ages.

“Through our modern Industrial Strategy, we are backing the UK’s thriving space sector so that the young people inspired by this great event of the past will have opportunities to work in the industry’s highly skilled, well-paid jobs of the future.”

Tim Peake, astronaut at the European Space Agency (ESA) said:

“The 1969 Apollo 11 Moon landing was not just a pivotal moment in space exploration, but a defining moment for humanity. Whether you were too young to witness the first footsteps on the Moon, or old enough to see it for yourself, the Moon landing has inspired so many people over the past fifty years.

“I hope that this campaign from the Arts & Humanities Research Council and UK Space Agency will not only help people to reflect on the historic and cultural significance of this anniversary, but also inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and astronauts.”

People will be able to submit their memories and personal stories via moonlandingmemories.com and are being encouraged to share them via social media using the hashtag #moonmemories. Memories and stories can be uploaded over the next month, with the submission deadline falling on Tuesday 18th June.

Professor Barry Smith, Leadership Fellow for Science in Culture at the Arts & Humanities Research Council said

“When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the Moon for the first time on the 20 July 1969, the world stopped to watch this history defining moment. It pushed the boundaries of human possibility and led to an incredible explosion in creativity.

“To mark the fiftieth anniversary we want to hear people’s memories of seeing the footage for the first time, but also what the Moon landings meant to them. From a love of space movies to pursuing a career in astronomy, this crowd-sourced history campaign will reflect on this moment’s undeniable role in shaping the world we live in today.”

Sue Horne, Head of Space Exploration at the UK Space Agency, said

“As a young child I was, like millions of people around the world, fascinated watching the Apollo 11 Moon landing. I remember our headmistress, who disapproved of television, insisted that the school television was on at lunchtime so we could watch the latest news on this historic event.

“The Moon landing was an inspiration to me and it’s exciting to think that young people today will be part of the next chapter of lunar exploration, with the UK playing an important role.

“I am looking forward to sharing in people’s memories of this iconic moment in space exploration and hearing how those small steps are still having a huge impact 50 years on.”


For further press information and images please contact:

Joseph Lewis, Arts & Humanities Research Council

Joseph.lewis@ahrc.ukri.org or 07925891633

Gareth Bethell, UK Space Agency

Gareth.bethell@ukspaceagency.gov.uk or 07925 891 949

Professor Barry Smith and Sue Horne are available for interview and there are a selection of high resolution images of the Apollo 11 moon landings available for media use.

Notes to editors:

About The Arts and Humanities Research Council

The Arts and Humanities Research Council, which is part of UK Research and Innovation, funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: history, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, languages, design, heritage, area studies, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98 million to fund research and postgraduate training, in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits and contributes to the economic success of the UK but also to the culture and welfare of societies around the globe.

You can find out more information via ahrc.ukri.org or following us on Twitter at @ahrcpress, on Facebook at @artsandhumanitiesresearchcouncil, or Instagram at @ahrcpress.

About the UK Space Agency

The UK Space Agency leads the UK’s efforts to explore and benefit from space, with responsibility for all strategic decisions on the UK civil space programme. It ensures Government investments in space science and technology deliver significant value to the UK economy and people’s lives. As set out in the Industrial Strategy, the UK Space Agency works with industry to develop new technologies, infrastructure and services, and to ensure the UK thrives in the commercial space age.

The UK Space Agency:

  • supports the work of the UK space sector at home and abroad, maximising its benefit to the UK’s growing economy
  • Invests in science and exploration to increase our understanding of the universe and deliver practical benefits such as new technologies to life on Earth.
  • inspires the next generation of UK scientists and engineers.
  • Provides a safe and supportive regulatory environment for the launch and operation of UK spacecraft, launch operators and UK spaceports.
  • Promotes global co-operation in space, through the UK’s membership of the European Space Agency and international partnerships.

The UK Space Agency is an executive agency, sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

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