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New Book Highlights Moon Training In Northern Arizona

Flagstaff, Az- Nearly a half-century after humankind first visited the Moon, a new book has been published that captures Northern Arizona’s role in preparing for these missions. Images of America: Northern Arizona Space Training, shares the passion, drive, creativity, and quirkiness of the people who helped fulfill President Kennedy’s bold challenge of sending humans to the Moon before the end of the 1960s.

Neil Armstrong hiked the Grand Canyon before taking his “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”, scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey exploded cinder fields near Sunset Crater to create a simulated lunar surface, and engineers joined forces with astronauts to test lunar buggies across the cinder fields of Flagstaff and beyond. Authors Kevin Schindler and William Sheehan tell these and others tales of astronaut training, lunar mapping, and instrument development and testing.

The book features more than 200 vintage pictures and captions, as well as introductory chapter remarks, that capture the excitement and spirit of one of the grandest eras in human history. Schindler said, “This book captures an important yet often ignored era of Northern Arizona history. We wanted to not only let people know about this remarkable work, but also to help preserve this legacy of the men and women who made possible the flights to the Moon.”

Schindler is the historian at Lowell Observatory, where he has worked for the past two decades. He regularly writes astronomy and history articles for a variety of publications, and contributes an astronomy column, “View from Mars Hill”, for the Arizona Daily Sun newspaper. Sheehan, a psychiatrist by profession, is also an independent scholar of the history of astronomy. Recognized worldwide as an authority in these fields, he writes extensively for various magazines and journals and has authored more than a dozen books.

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Molly Baker, Lowell Observatory

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mbaker@lowell.edu