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Photographing the Moon: An Evening with Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Curators, Part 3—Geology from Orbit: Robots, Cameras, and Photogeology

Matthew Shindell, curator of planetary science, National Air and Space Museum

The year 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969. Photography played a significant role both in preparing for the mission and in shaping the cultural consciousness of the event. By the Light of the Silvery Moon: A Century of Lunar Photographs features works ranging in date from the 19th century to the “space-age” 1960s. The event Photographing the Moon, held on October 3, 2019, at the National Gallery of Art, celebrated this exhibition by inviting three curators from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum to give talks on the intertwined histories of photography and space exploration. In the third talk, Matthew Shindell described the development and impact of the field of photogeology, which provided early photography of the earth and moon from airplanes and eventually allowed for mapping and selecting landing sites for human missions to the moon.