Those Milanese “Lunatic” lovers

Have you thought about what to give your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day yet? How about the ultimate romantic gift? Forget jewellery, flowers and chocolates, what’s the most written about, most painted and most sung about subject after love itself? Why it’s the Moon of course!

As you probably know, the first man on the moon wasn’t from Milan but from America. In July 1969, Neil Armstrong ventured where mankind never had, accompanied by the crew of Apollo 11. The most recent manned Moon landing was made shortly after by Apollo 17 in 1972. During this mission, Commander Eugene Cernan ended his final moonwalk with a dedication to the young people of Earth; his rousing speech called for peace and harmony throughout the world.

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And just how much harmony do we need to love each other?

Well, his crew collected a significant amount of Moon rock. The rock, which has been classified Lunar Basalt 70017, was taken from the Taurus Littrow Valley on the near side of the moon and then transported back to Earth. After Apollo 17’s safe return, the rock samples were divided up into hundreds of pieces and distributed to all the countries of the world by then president Richard Nixon as a symbol of goodwill.

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And here’s the point, Italy’s “Goodwill Moon Rock” will be the star attraction of a new, unique permanent exhibition dedicated to Space due to open in May at the Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Technologia Leonardo Da Vinci. The new Space exhibition incorporates the museum’s three main objectives: research, conservation and education with everything you could possibly want to know about the evolution of space travel over the years including interesting facts from the current Mars exploration and a fascinating presentation of the research being carried out by the International Space Station and the impact it has had on the world today.

Italy’s largest science and technology museum – which celebrated its 60th anniversary last year – and one of the most important in Europe, has come up with a unique way to fund the exhibition which as well as raising money, will also give members of the public the opportunity to become part of the exhibition themselves. The “Conquistiamoci La Luna” (Let’s Conquer The Moon) campaign uses the crowdfunding approach to fundraising, enabling would be donors to choose between making a simple one off donation or setting up a personal fundraising page, whilst sporty space fans can sign up to join the museum’s Space Running Team to compete in the Milano City Marathon on 6th April. The diverse approach to fundraising gives donors a new significance by making them a physical part of the exhibition by giving them the opportunity to have their name listed as an official donor on the walls of the permanent installation. Fundraisers are also entitled to other exciting benefits depending on the size of their donation. Small donations from 10 to 50 Euros will receive a free ticket, a certificate and the name of the donor or another person listed within the new exhibition and on the museum’s website. Medium donations between 51 and 300 Euros will receive an invitation to the premier of the presentation of the moon rock plus four free tickets (as well as the certificate and the inclusion of the person’s name on the website and in the museum). Whilst the most generous donations of over 300 Euros will receive a special one year pass to the museum as well as all the other benefits mentioned previously.

Truly a great gift! It really is all about Peace and Love. Combining the Goodwill Moon Rock’s original objective of uniting nations and working towards world peace with the ultimate symbol of love throughout the ages, just in time for Valentine’s Day, the latest initiative means loved up stargazers can make a donation plus a dedication to the object of their desires whose name will be listed in the new exhibition. In return the museum will give you a certificate and either free tickets or membership depending on the value of your donation. So like thousands of star crossed lovers have promised throughout history, you really can give someone the moon.

For further information, visit the museum website which features information about all the museum’s collections as well as details of the new exhibition and how to donate. The website is also available in English.

http://www.museoscienza.org/english/

http://www.museoscienza.org/moon/

Samantha Candeggi

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