The 50th anniversary of the moon landing is being celebrated in a series of events at Lichfield Cathedral.
The historic building will have a map of the lunar surface beamed onto it from 20th July until September, while the words of Buzz Aldrin will be played at noon every day throughout the summer.
Houston, this is Eagle. This is the LM Pilot speaking. I would like to request a few moments of silence. I would like to invite each person listening in, wherever and whomever he may be, to contemplate for a moment the events of the past few hours and to invite each person listening, wherever and whomever he may be, to contemplate for a moment the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his own individual way.Buzz Aldrin’s words recorded before he stepped onto the moon
There will also be a service of worship on the moon floor artwork replicating the Eucharistic service Aldrin performed on the moon 50 years ago.
He used the communion cup from his own church for the service and is recorded as saying he watched as “the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup” due to the gravitational pull of the moon’s atmosphere.
The Cathedral Choir will sing David Bowie’s Space Oddity on the moon over the weekend of the 50th anniversary, and there will be prayer stations for people to use to reflect on what the anniversary means for society and the planet.
The Dean of Lichfield, the Very Revd Adrian Dorber said: “The first moon landing by human beings was an extraordinary feat – it summed up humanity’s spirit of adventure and exploration.
“Space exploration enabled us to see the beauty and fragility of our planet and it opened us all to the immensity of space, the awesomeness of the universe and encourages us still today to think about the origins of everything and whether life and time has a purpose and a point.
“Science and religion have interesting things to say to one another: in this summer’s programme here at Lichfield Cathedral, we want to help people discover that sense of awe and wonder in the universe, to create a bit of visual background to this special anniversary, to pray and contemplate and to marvel again at the sheer ingenuity that got astronauts on the moon, and to have some fun.”
“Reach for the moon”
There will also be opportunities to dress like an astronaut, take one small step onto the moon floor and take selfies on the moon throughout the summer.
The Great Exhibition: Space, God, The Universe and Everything, created by the cathedral’s artist-in-residence Peter Walker in collaboration with Luxmuralis, will open on 18th August.
It will feature the moon floor as the centrepiece of a light and sound projection show inspired by the planets and their courses.
Peter worked with NASA and the National Space Centre in Leicester to create the piece .
He said: “We want these artworks to encourage people to explore possibilities, to reach for the moon, and be in that space, and to reflect on what that means for them and for all humankind.”