On Thursday night, Nov. 14, 2019, a new Lunar Rover replica was unveiled at the accesso ShoWare Center in front of hundreds of science, math and space fans, as well as some workers who helped build the historic originals right here in Kent.
Three Lunar Roving Vehicles (LRVs) – now considered Historic Landmarks – went to the Moon, and only six people have driven them.
“Never has so much imagination and research gone into the production of a wheeled vehicle, making possible the greatest manned explorations of the Moon, and they came from right here in Kent!” the city said on its ApolloLunarRover.com website.
Commonly known as the Lunar Rover or Moon Buggy, these vehicles were the first and only crewed surface transportation systems designed by humans to operate off our planet. At its Kent-based Space Center, the Boeing Company designed, tested and built the four-wheeled vehicle for NASA that was last used during Apollo missions 15, 16 and 17 between 1971-72. Three Kent-built Lunar Rovers remain on the Moon today (and hopefully without any parking tickets!).
And soon, kids of all ages will soon be able to crawl, play and explore the replica, which will be installed downtown at Kherson Park, located at 307 W Gowe Street (map below).
Here’s a statement from Kent Mayor Dana Ralph:
“What an incredible event! When the doors opened last night there were hundreds and hundreds of youth from our community in line, wrapped around the building. There was a huge level of excitement when the Lunar Rover was built but that level of excitement was matched last night by our community for the unveiling of the Lunar Rover replica. When we finally pulled off the curtain it revealed a life size replica of the space vehicle used by astronauts, built right here in Kent. With its working buttons, light up features and seating for two – it made a fun night as kids from across the City got to sit on it and imagine what it would be like to drive on the moon. I want to give a special thanks to everyone who helped make this happen – because of you we have helped inspire the next generations of scientists, astronauts, engineers and community leaders. Special thanks to the Boeing Company, NASA, the Kent Lions Club, the Museum of Flight, STEM Correspondent Luci Belle, the Kent Parks Department and Michelle Wilmot with Kent’s Community and Economic Development Department.”
Here’s a video tour of the event (as streamed live on our Facebook page) hosted by Theresa Schaefer and featuring interviews with Mayor Dana Ralph, Gaila Gutierrez from the Kent Downtown Partnership, students from the Kentridge Chargers Robotics team, and many others, including Chewbacca:
It was out of this world! @KentMeridian415‘s Interact Club volunteered at the Lunar Rover #STEM festival last night! #LunarRover #KentWa #Apollo #KSDCommunity #ThankYou pic.twitter.com/uvvqhrMmGZ
— Kent School District (@KentSchools415) November 15, 2019