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Episode Info: tes was the only country to land humans on the moon so far. [Audio from gallery] I like the optimism of the “so far.” Even if the next enterprise to land on the moon is American, the United States won’t be the only country there for too long. The museum has a temporary exhibit called “Moon, Episode II” (presumably Episode I was the Apollo missions), which presents some of the challenges, and proposes some solutions to going back to the moon. Each of the solutions presented did not rely on national agencies, but simply human ingenuity. Cite de l’Espace is not designed for an American or Russian audience. Instead, the museum is the showcase of space achievements in general and French contributions to those achievements in particular. The biggest thing in the museum is an Ariane 5 rocket, a human-ready launch vehicle designed by the French Space Agency that accounts for 60% of global satellite launches. You can get a bite to eat at La Terrasse guanaise, a reference to French Guiana, an overseas department of France, where European rockets are launched because of the department’s proximity to the equator. But while I was there, the museum was making its final preparations for Apollo Day: moving a lunar module to a special location in the middle of the open air part of the museum, all to get ready to celebrate not just an American achievement, but a human one. One of the young visitors also curious about the preparations was wearing a tee shirt with Yuri Gagarin’s face on it. Gagarin, the first person in space, flew on a Soviet rocket only eight years before the moon landings. The modified version of that rocket is also on display not far away. In a video in the Moon episode II gallery, the narrator notes that the boot prints around the Apollo 11 landing site are still there, untouched just as the astronauts left them, ready for humans to visit again. Cite de l’Espace has nothing to say on the topic of a museum at the site of the landing — a project regular listeners know I want to help develop when the time comes. I hope that future museum at the Apollo 11 landing site is a little like Cite de l’Espace. I hope that it doesn’t just feature the American story, but instead features the mix of countries presented here that lead to the achievement. So, whether you celebrate on July 20th or 21st, I wish you a happy Apollo Day. This has been Museum Archipelago. [Outro] ......
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