Fifty years ago, American astronauts landed on the surface of the moon, inspiring a new wave of scientific research and discovery about the cosmos. Now, the Harvard Museum of Natural History is displaying parts of that history in a new mini-exhibit looking at what scientists have learned about the beginnings and workings of the known universe.
“Cosmic Origins,” opens Saturday, the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s lunar landing, and includes a portion of a moon rock collected during NASA’s Apollo 12 mission.
“In the 50 years since we first set foot on the moon, humanity’s understanding of the origins and evolution not only of our planet and solar system, but also of the vast wider universe, has grown astronomically,” said Janis Sacco, director of exhibitions at the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture. “‘Cosmic Origins’ represents a sampling of this growing body of knowledge, assembled with the help of Harvard faculty and researchers in the departments of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Astronomy.
“From my perspective, what is most exciting about the science in ‘Cosmic Origins’ is what it reveals about common origins and the nature of all that we know in the universe,” she said. “Everything we can see and touch, the processes that shape worlds, even life itself, all arise from the activities of stars. For me, it is a wondrous thing that we are all connected to the larger cosmos in this way.”