‘When Apollo Came to Idaho’ Looks at the Early Days (and Future) of Astronaut Training

Some of America’s best-known astronauts visited Idaho in 1969 to train for their moon missions. But for many years, the small, supporting role Idaho played in the Apollo lunar program was unappreciated, misunderstood, even ignored.

Idaho Experience explores NASA’s past — and future — training and research at Idaho’s Craters of the Moon National Monument in When Apollo Came to Idaho. Tune in or stream it Thursday, Sept. 5, at 8:30 PM. IdahoPTV Passport members can stream the program beginning Thursday, Aug. 29!

“The 1969 visit was part of a smart, deliberate strategy by NASA to teach geology to this corps of pilots selected as the first astronauts,” says producer Bill Manny. “These guys were, after all, going on the grandest geology field trip of all time. NASA had the astronauts visit volcanic sites all over southeast Idaho, and geological sites all over the world.”

What makes this a story worth retelling is that the space-research relationship continues at Craters of the Moon, where the varied and hostile landscape is being used to prepare scientists and astronauts for future missions to Mars.

Major funding for Idaho Experience is provided by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Anne Voillequé and Louise Nelson, Judy and Steve Meyer, the Futura Corporation, the Richard K. and Shirley S. Hemingway Foundation, the Friends of Idaho Public Television, the Idaho Public Television Endowment, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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