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Moon Rocks (1969)

KPRC-TV

Silent | 1969

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  •  Lunar samples were analyzed in glovebox vacuum chambers 
  •  Breaking a sample apart 
 
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  • Manned Spacecraft Center Manned Spacecraft Center
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This news footage for Houston’s KPRC-TV captures a NASA scientist studying Moon rocks at the Manned Spacecraft Center’s Lunar Receiving Laboratory (LRL). Broadcast on September 15, 1969, the samples most likely came from the Apollo 11 mission. The initial purpose of the LRL was to quarantine anyone and anything returning from the surface of the Moon. Seeing as no person had ever walked on the Moon before, NASA did not know whether or not exposure to lunar dust was biologically hazardous. In 1979, NASA built the Lunar Sample Laboratory Facility as a permanent repository for Apollo samples. The LRL now hosts experiments related to the effects of microgravity.
As the scope of the American space program grew, NASA’s Space Task Group realized it would need to expand into its own facility if it were to successfully land a man on the Moon. In 1961, the agency’s selection team chose a 1,000-acre cow pasture in Houston, Texas, as the proposed center’s location site, owing to its access to water transport and commercial jet service, moderate climate, and proximity to Rice University. In September 1963, the facility opened as the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC). 
 
The Center became the focal point of NASA’s manned spaceflight program, developing spacecraft for Projects Gemini and Apollo, selecting and training astronauts, and operating the Lunar Receiving Laboratory. Beginning with Gemini 4 in June 1965, MSC’s Mission Control Center also took over flight control duties from the Mercury Control Center at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. As a result, the facility managed all subsequent manned space missions, including those related to Projects Gemini and Apollo, the Apollo Applications Program, the Space Shuttle Orbiters, and the International Space Station.
 
In 1973, the MSC was renamed in honor of the late President and Texas native Lyndon B. Johnson. (As Senate Majority Leader, Johnson sponsored the 1958 legislation that established NASA.) The Center continues to lead NASA’s efforts in space exploration, training both American and international astronauts, managing missions to and from the International Space Station, and operating scientific and medical research programs.