Where can go to I touch something that's been to the moon?
June 22, 2014 9:02 PM   Subscribe

Where can I go to touch something that has been to the Moon and back? Is such a thing even possible? There must be artifacts spread around the U.S. Where's the nearest one to you (and where are you)?
posted by dws to Science & Nature (19 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The Air and Space museum in Washington, D.C. has a moon rock fragment that you can touch. I'd recommend you jump up in the air and then reach out and touch it, that way you can say you jumped so high you touched the moon.
posted by skewed at 9:05 PM on June 22, 2014 [22 favorites]

Best answer: I think the Johnson Space center in Houston has lunar samples you can touch. A Google search for the lunar modules yielded a list of where all the command modules are.
posted by arcticseal at 9:11 PM on June 22, 2014

I don't live in Corvallis, Oregon any more, but there is a moon tree on the OSU campus there.
posted by thug unicorn at 9:14 PM on June 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, CA has lots of artifacts and memorabilia. Actual cosmonaut suits, other things like that. I bet you'd have a very high likelihood of finding something there that's been to the moon and is touchable.
posted by colin_l at 9:23 PM on June 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: There's definitely something miraculous about the fragment of worn-smooth moon rock at the Air & Space Museum. I was there last summer and watched for a little while as Chinese tourists lined up in turn to touch it as if feeling a relic, the toenail of Jesus or an alleged apostle.
posted by tapir-whorf at 9:24 PM on June 22, 2014 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Also, the NASA Ames Visitor Center in San Jose has lots of artifacts as well. Also high likelihood of been-to-the-moon stuff you could touch.
posted by colin_l at 9:25 PM on June 22, 2014

Best answer: The Smithsonian not only has a piece of the moon you can touch, but also a piece of Mars you can touch.
I have already touched them, so... cooties :-p
posted by anonymisc at 9:34 PM on June 22, 2014 [8 favorites]

You might be surprised at how accessible the artifacts are, especially if something has "merely" orbited the moon instead of going to the lunar surface. You can get a few mms of the skin of the Apollo 11 command module for less than $1000.
posted by wnissen at 9:49 PM on June 22, 2014

Best answer: Go to Oakland on July 26 and shake Buzz Aldrin's hand on the USS Hornet (aircraft carrier that picked up the Apollo astronauts after splash down)
posted by bottlebrushtree at 10:05 PM on June 22, 2014 [30 favorites]

Vancouver's Space Centre has a rock.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 10:19 PM on June 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL, has a sliver of moon rock that you can touch.

It's about thirty miles east of Orlando and then a few miles north.
posted by danabanana at 3:30 AM on June 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

I nth the Washington D.C. Air and Space Museum (or any Space Museums, though the NY Hayden Planetarium doesn't allow you to touch their moon rock.) It was a rock in D.C. when I was a child, I am sure it is so worn down now. I was totally thrilled to touch it!
posted by Yellow at 5:00 AM on June 23, 2014

You don't know any planetary researchers, do you? Sometimes they have samples.

Related story: I knew a planetary geology grad student who had to pulverize a bit of moon rock for analysis (in a spectrometer, I think). There was a little dust stuck to her hands when she was done...so she ate it.
posted by the_blizz at 5:00 AM on June 23, 2014 [13 favorites]

If you can afford it, Alan Bean has a few original paintings for sale. Supposedly he textures them with the rock hammer and other things he used on the Moon.
posted by bondcliff at 5:48 AM on June 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Someone with more time and statistical chops than me should be able to estimate how much lunar meteoric mass has hit the earth, how much oxygen from said masses has exchanged into water/air over billions of years, and the likelihood that someone you know has respired/ingested said oxygen, and incorporated an atom of it into their mass.

My guess: in touching other people you've probably been in contact with at least one body with an atom of lunar-derived oxygen.
posted by lalochezia at 9:34 AM on June 23, 2014

Actually, you can order your own sample if you'd like. We get lunar meteorites here on Earth all the time. Same thing for Mars meteorites too. Just make sure it is a reputable seller.
posted by jwells at 5:39 PM on June 23, 2014

Well, there's a moon rock jammed in with the other world rocks on the Tribune Tower in Chicago. I swore you could touch it but according to the picture on this page, the rock appears to be behind some glass.
posted by bibbit at 5:40 PM on June 23, 2014

The Natural History Museum in New York City has 4 moon rocks, but I don't remember if you can touch them or not.
posted by Mchelly at 8:03 PM on June 23, 2014

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