Timed to the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, The Corning Museum of Glass will present a special display that invites visitors to get hands-on and explore the integral role glass has played in space exploration. Journey to the Moon: How Glass Got Us There opens on June 29.
“It has been 50 years since humankind first set foot on the moon—and it wouldn’t have been possible without glass. From the development of telescopes to the creation of the Apollo Lunar Module, glass has enabled our increased understanding of and interactions with space in fundamental ways,” said Marvin Bolt, curator of science and technology at The Corning Museum of Glass. “This exhibition will look at the direct and tangential ways in which glass played key roles in the culmination of President John F. Kennedy’s Moon Shot.”
A highlight of the display will be a lunar meteorite with glassy components that visitors will be able to touch. Key objects and artifacts examine the role of glass in making this mission possible, including fiberglass—used in the protective outer layer of spacesuits worn by astronauts, and as insulation for the spacecrafts—and a Gemini window, designed by Corning, Inc. for the space shuttle windshield. Made of fused silica, this glass is able to withstand the heat of reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. Visitors to the Museum will be able to see this glass in action during a Hot Glass Demo, as a piece of it sits between a 2,400°F reheating furnace and a camera allowing onlookers to see inside. A moonwalk montage will provide visuals of the lunar landing, revealing how glass on our TV screens gave everyone on Earth a first glimpse at the moon, and that glass in our TVs and devices still provides us a window through which to view important moments today.
“We first saw the moon up close through glass in our telescopes, opening our minds to what lies beyond Earth’s atmosphere,” said Bolt. “We visited the moon in a spacecraft made of glass, and we walked on its surface in glass spacesuits. And everyone back at home watched it happen through the glass on their TV screens. Once Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, we discovered that its surface was glassy. Glass has provided us not only a lens but a vehicle to make possible the journey to the moon.”
Located in the heart of the Finger Lakes Wine Country of New York State, the Museum is open daily, year-round. Children and teens, 17 and under, receive free admission.