The National Aeronautic and Space Administration is marking the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing — and its 60th year of space exploration — with a series of summer reading programs at libraries with the theme “A Universe of Stories.” This summer, 16,000 libraries across the country are participating in the series, including those in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region.
On Monday, July 15, both the Laconia and Gilford public libraries will be among those participating in a live webcast from STARnet, the Science-Technology Activities and Resources Library Network. The 4 p.m. webcast will recreate the Apollo 11 mission that carried Commander Neil Armstrong, lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin, and command module pilot Michael Collins to the moon where, on July 20, 1969, Armstrong became the first man to set foot upon Earth’s satellite.
STARnet’s program will follow the crew through its one and a half orbits before getting the go-ahead for its “translunar injection” — a three-day journey to the moon, followed a day later by the landing in the lunar module Eagle.
A series of alarms sounded during the Eagle’s descent, caused by radar-tracking problems and a computer overload, and Armstrong had to override the automatic landing system, which was taking the module to a rocky landing spot. When the Eagle finally landed, it had only 30 seconds of fuel remaining. Yet, the drama was not apparent in Armstrong’s voice as he announced, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”
Other Laconia events
Laconia Public Library is conducting its first-ever Adult Summer Reading Program and will be teaming up with Cactus Jack's Grill and Watering Hole for a cosmic trivia night on Tuesday, July 23, from 7 to 9 p.m. The event will take place at Cactus Jack's, at 1182 Union Avenue.
The library also has several Tween programs with a space theme. On Thursday, July 18, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the focus will be on "Strong Structures" with participants building a truss out of string and paper. The activity, devised by NASA, will test how many books such a structure will hold.
There will be a Moon Rover Challenge on Thursday, July 25, at 11 a.m., with participants making a wind-up cardboard moon rover, in another activity devised by NASA.
On Tuesday, July 30, at 11 a.m., participants will build a rocket with Legos. The library will raffle off a Lego Creator Space Shuttle Explorer Kit during the event.
There will be a Science Tellers program for children on Wednesday, July 31, at 1 p.m., "Aliens: Escape from Earth."
Meredith and Belmont
Librarian Erin Apostolos said the Meredith Public Library is using the summer of 2019 to highlight not only the moon landing but also information about the stars, with activities that include making paper rocket ships.
On Tuesday, July 16, at 11 a.m., the Hampstead Stage Company will be at the library to perform “Stories in the Stars,” an original production based on the tales behind the constellations. (For those who miss this one, there will be a performance at the Belmont Public Library on Monday, July 22, at 2 p.m.)
Eileen Gilbert of the Belmont Public Library said its program on July 16 at 7 p.m. will be Michael Francis' portrayal of Galileo Gallilei, “The Starry Messenger,” whose treatise “Siderius Nuncius” describes his discoveries from using his newly created telescope. That program will come to the Meredith Public Library on Thursday, Aug. 1, at 6:30 p.m.
Meredith's paper rocket workshop will take place on Friday, Aug. 2, at 1 p.m., led by a team from the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center. After an instructional program on how airplanes fly, participants will build paper rockets and use an air-powered launcher to send them into flight.
Other programs at the Belmont Public Library include a visit by the the New Hampshire Astronomical Society to Bryant Field on Wednesday, Aug. 7, to lead a Skywatch program. The Society customized the library’s new telescope, which is available to check out for individual use to patrons over 18.
Middle schoolers will create their own nebula in a jar on Monday, July 15, at 5:30 p.m.
Those from Grade 5 to adult will have a chance to make a wallhanging or pillow with Cross Stitch Constellations on Monday, July 29, at 4 p.m., with supplies provided.
The Minot-Sleeper Library in Bristol will welcome the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center on Wednesday, July 17, at 10:30 a.m. for a children’s workshop, “The Comet Show,” that invites participants to make their own asteroids.
The following Wednesday, July 24, at 10:30, the program will be “Rocket Peeps.” Children and teens of any age will have the opportunity to build displays using space-themed materials and marshmallow Peeps.
Plymouth State University Professor Samuel Miller will give a presentation for adults, "Meteorology From Satellites: Where We Are Now," on Tuesday, July 16, at 7 p.m.