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Gemini 10 Featured at Santa Monica College Planetarium Next Month
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Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica


By Jorge Casuso

June 28, 2016 -- Sixty years ago, astronaut Michael Collins stepped out of Gemini 10 and became the first person to "spacewalk" to another spacecraft in orbit. Unfortunately no pictures captured the event. His camera drifted away.

That mission, launched on July 18, 1966 (The Troggs "Wild Thing was racing to number 1 on the Billboard Charts") will be the subject next month of Santa Monica College's ongoing Project Gemini 50-year retrospective at the John Drescher Planetarium.

Commanded by John Young, with pilot Collins, Gemini 10 became the first

Photo of astronauts John Young and Michael Collins . 1966  gemini 10 mission.
Photo from Nasa. Michael Collins (L) and John Young
spacecraft to use another craft’s engine to "boost the docked spacecraft into higher orbits, set an altitude record, and showed that NASA clearly had work to do on suits and equipment before heading for the Moon," event organizers said.

It also established that radiation at high altitude posed no problems for America's ambitious goal of sending an American safely to the moon before the end of the decade.

“Gemini 10: Reaching Higher” on July 29 caps a month of planetarium events that kick off on July 8 with a special observing event titled "Crescent Moon, Jupiter, and Saturn!"

Planetarium director Jim Mahon will help guide viewers as they "gaze through a variety of telescopes at the waxing crescent Moon near Jupiter, take a quick look at the tiny disk of Mars, then check out the evening’s showy finale: magnificent Saturn and its beautiful rings."

Participants are advised to dress warmly.

The July program continues on July 15 and 22 with a volunteer's report on "The Grand Canyon Star Party, simultaneous events held on the North and South Rims of the Grand Canyon.

"The annual Grand Canyon Star Party is one of the premier astronomy outreach events in the Southwest, with amateur astronomers from near and far bringing a wide variety of telescopes and serving as US Park Service outreach educators," organizers said.

Mahon will present "stunning images" and provide a first-hand report on this year's party.

All of the planetarium's presentations begin at 8 p.m. The lectures are always preceded by a night sky show at 7 p.m., which provides guests with the latest space and astronomy news, a “tour” through the constellations with the planetarium's Digistar projection system, and a question-and-answer session with a professional astronomer.

Available at the door, tickets for both the night sky show and presentation are $11, or $9 for students and seniors. Single-event tickets are $6, or $5 for seniors 60 and older and children 12 and younger.

For more information, call 310-434-3005, or visit or All shows subject to change or cancellation without notice.

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