NASA To Demolish Apollo 11 Landing Lab
The US space agency NASA has decided to demolish its five decades-old laboratory used for its Moon mission. The laboratory is based in Houston. It was this Lunar Receiving Laboratory at Johnson Space Center where Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong and his crew had emerged from quarantine after the historic mission. The building will be razed in 2020. The astronauts were taken to this lab after their return to the Earth from Moon. They stayed here until the space agency determined that they had not contracted diseases or any infection while away from the Earth. The crew stayed here for three weeks while NASA scientists studied their first set of rocks from Moon. The building has been unused for nearly two years and has become dilapidated. It couldn’t be repaired and therefore it has been decided to demolish it.
NASA in a statement said that the laboratory will be replaced by an energy-efficient building. It added that the structure has deteriorated entirely and demolition was the only option available. The Lunar Receiving Laboratory was completed in 1967 for the purpose to isolate astronauts after their return from Moon. After the last flight of the Apollo program in 1972, the laboratory was specifically used to study the health of astronauts. An economic analysis in 2015 revealed structural and electrical problems in the building which can’t be repaired. Once it is demolished, work on an energy-efficient building at the same site will begin. The contract for designing the new building has been awarded to Dallas-based HDR Architecture. The project would be worth USD 5.7 million.
The decision to demolish the laboratory comes nearly two months after the 50-year anniversary of the Apollo 11 program. The Apollo 11 was the first spaceflight that was used to send humans on Moon. Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin were given the responsibility to form the American crew that landed on Moon on July 20, 1969. Armstrong was the first person from the Earth to walk on the surface of Moon.