40th Moon Landing Anniversary - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

40th Moon Landing Anniversary

AUBURN, Ala. (WXTX) - On the 40th anniversary of the first landing on the moon, WTVM is honoring Auburn Universities contribution to the space program.

6 astronauts graduated from Auburn, including three in the Apollo program. Ken Mattingly was a 1958 graduate. He famously helped apollo 13 avert disaster and get safely back to earth. This year on behalf of NASA, Mattingly honored his time at Auburn by donating a very rare piece of history to the university.

"I would like to entrust this little friend of ours in to your care for safe keeping," said Mattingly.

Apollo Astronauts Ken Mattingly's little friend is a piece of the moon he brought back to earth on Apollo 16.

This year NASA and Mattingly donated the rock to Auburns College of Engineering.

Mattingly is famous for his role in helping Apollo 13 return safely to earth. Mattingly was scheduled to fly the mission, but was pulled because he was exposed to german measles. He never got sick, but was instrumental in helping the crew return safely to earth after an explosion on board.

The Auburn grad later flew as command module pilot of Apollo 16. This lunar sample was brought back to earth on that mission. For now the rock is tucked inside a safe despot box. It's not on display just yet, as the University is working up security for the display to make sure the rock can't be moved form the Dean of engineering reception area in the Shelby Center on campus. It is scheduled to go on display, fall semester.

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