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NASA lunar samples on view July 16 –28 at Bell Museum


Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean holds a special environmental sample container filled with lunar soil collected during his sojourn on the lunar surface. A Hasselblad camera is mounted on the chest of his spacesuit. Pete Conrad, who took this image, is reflected in Bean's helmet visor, Nov. 20, 1969. NASA Image Library.


In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 crew launch on July 16, the Bell Museum will begin public viewings of genuine lunar rock and soil samples on loan from NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The samples will be on view during select times July 16–28, and on view all day (10 a.m.-5 p.m.) on July 20, the anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. Visit for more about the Bell Museum's Apollo 50 celebration.

On July 16, 1969, the Apollo 11 crew was launched into space from NASA's Kennedy Spacecraft Center, Florida. This was the first lunar mission with the primary goal of landing humans on the Moon and safely returning them back to the Earth.

Between 1969 and 1972 six Apollo missions brought back 382 kilograms (842 pounds) of lunar rocks, core samples, pebbles, sand and dust from the lunar surface. The six space flights returned 2,200 separate samples from six different exploration sites on the Moon.

The six-inch lunar sample disk contains lunar rock and lunar soil encapsulated in clear Lucite. These samples provide a glimpse into ancient lava flows, soil from sites across the Moon, and volcanic ash from a lunar eruption 3.5 billion years ago.


Bell Museum

2088 Larpenteur Avenue West, Saint Paul, MN 55113

For general information, call 612-626-9660 or visit


Tuesday–Friday, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.

July 16

July 17 (plus 6–8 p.m.)

July 18

July 19

July 23

July 24 (plus 6–8 p.m.)

July 25

July 26

Saturday–Sunday, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.

July 20 (10 a.m.–5 p.m.)

July 21

July 27

July 28

About Bell Museum

The Bell Museum is Minnesota's official natural history museum, founded in 1872 and held in trust at the University of Minnesota. A proud part of the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, our mission is to ignite curiosity and wonder, explore our connections to nature and the universe, and create a better future for our evolving world. For details, visit or find @bellmuseum on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

We strive to make our facility and events accessible to all. Audio description, ASL interpretation, or other accommodations can be arranged with a two-week notice. Contact the accessibility office at 612-624-4268 or for details.

For general information, call 612-626-9660 or visit


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