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Earth Day 2016 events in the D.C. area

Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, entered lunar orbit on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 1968. That evening, the astronauts-Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders-held a live broadcast from lunar orbit, in which they showed pictures of the Earth and moon as seen from their spacecraft. (Courtesy NASA)

WASHINGTON — This Friday is the 46th Earth Day.

Started in 1970, when environmentalism and caring about the planet started to take hold, it has become a worldwide event. NASA’s Apollo missions to the moon had a part in the creation of this movement as humans saw our planet in living color suspended in the vast blackness of space. We saw our planet as a vulnerable world that needed our care.

There are a number of Earth Day events taking place in the D.C. area. Here are a few:

Alexandria Earth Day 2016
Earth Day at the National Zoo
Anacostia Watershed Society’s Earth Day Cleanup & Celebration
Arlington Earth Day 2016
Bowie Earth Day Concert and Art Exhibit

You can click on the “Events In Your Area” section of the Earth Day website to see if any are events in your town.

NASA is celebrating Earth Day online and by hosting public events on April 21 and 22. We are fortunate to have an event right here in D.C. from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday and Friday in Union Station’s Main Hall.

If you can’t make it to an Earth Day event, NASA is hosting a social media event, Earth24Seven, which will be all day on April 22.

Be sure to visit NASA’s Earth Science website and learn about all that NASA does regarding our planet. Enjoy these views of our planet courtesy of the astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

By the way, the moon is full on Friday so be sure to watch it rise and take in all of its splendor on Earth Day 2016.

Speaking of the moon, NASA is hosting an event next week that is about our moon. On April 27 at 11 a.m., NASA Headquarters will have a free lecture in Webb Auditorium given by Dr. Maria Zuber on NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission. Get the whole story about the pair of twin spacecraft that helped rewrite our knowledge of the moon.

I hope Earth Day 2016 causes each of us to pause, reflect and act regarding our beautiful and precious planet. We need to care for our Earth if we want to care for ourselves in the future — we are interlinked. Just remember this, the Earth doesn’t need us, we need the Earth.

Follow my daily blog The Space Place to keep up with the latest news in astronomy and space exploration. You can email me at skyguyinva@gmail.com.

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