UT professors, students discuss first moon landing

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Dr. Moriba Jah presents on Sept. 24, 2019 at the Bass Concert Hall as part of the Moon Landing Discussion. For the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, four panelists discussed the history and future of America’s place on the moon.

Photo Credit: Lauren Barrero | Daily Texan Staff

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the world’s first moon landing in July, UT aerospace engineering and astronomy professors discussed the past and future voyages of space exploration at Bass Concert Hall on Tuesday.

Professors discussed the long journey the United States took to successfully land on the moon and talked about future space traffic and space exploration. Astronomy assistant professor Caitlin Casey said students should learn more about their history and pay close attention to the universe around them.

“I hope over the course of the next few years you really find and discover your passion and take it out into the world,” Casey said. 

 

Wallace Fowler, aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics professor, said students should research beyond the Apollo 11 misision. Fowler said witnessing the moon landing alongside the rest of the world propelled his interest in science. 

“(On the night of the moon landings) I went outside, and I knew at that moment there were humans climbing the moon,” Fowler said. “In those few moments, the impossible was possible. That was the moment I knew I wanted to become a scientist.”

Although undeclared freshman Natalie Garza did not experience the moon landing firsthand, she said it also played a role in forming her interest in science.

“It’s important to celebrate the 50th anniversary because (the moon landing) was a major point for us in science,” Garza said. “We should all have a basic knowledge of science and history.”

Garza said with a better understanding of the first moon landing, people can have a strong appreciation for America’s tenacious mindset.

“We are really persistent, and the moon landing shows how we don’t back down,” said Garza. “That’s the attitude this country has always had.”

Radio-television-film freshman Hector Reza Olguin Jr. said America’s perseverance led the nation to be the first to land on the moon.

“The first moon landing showed that America is really stubborn and that we won’t take no for an answer,” said Reza Olguin Jr. “We said we’re going to get there, we’re going to get there first and we’re going to get there faster.”

Reza Olguin Jr. said the University lecture was a great learning experience for students. “It’s important to expand our knowledge outside of what we already know about space,” said Reza Olguin Jr. “(University lectures are) a very good opportunity for students who are interested in specific topics like this.”