Map Duo Presentation on Lunar Wall Mosaic Map by Alex Harry and Steven Yao

USAF lunar wall mosaic : LEM-1B. - Copy 2 | Library of Congress

The Lunar Wall Mosaic Map was made in 1962 by the USA during the height of conflict in the Space Race between the USSR and the USA. This map depicts creators, mountains, and flat lands that are, for the most part, already named by astronomers from the 16th century. Looking closely at the map, there are some smaller points where it is clear that these places are named by Americans. This map was first created through a process where US government-funded scientists took remote image-sensing photos using observatories and later satellites. From this, they were able to draw a general topographic map, but they had to spend an additional two years using probes and other mathematical calculations to figure out the sea floor and elevation to make all of the craters and mountains consistent. This map was used by the USA to plan out how they were going to put someone on the moon, determine what was the best place to do the moon landing, and later on, was a very important tool for mission control to help the astronauts navigate where they were on the moon. It also had another, more abstract use during the Cold War. While at first glance it is clearly not overt propaganda for the USA, once brought into different contexts and understood in context with the Cold War, the Lunar Wall Mosaic definitely has pro-American sentiments and is political. Due to the military-industrial complex and much of the scientific research into space being funded and overseen by the US government, things created during this time would always be about trying to make America look the best and better than the USSR. In this case, they used the lunar map to demonstrate American superiority over the rest of the world (especially the USSR) by not only demonstrating how “far more advanced” their technology was but also by claiming the moon was to be reached and controlled by the USA instead of the USSR.

During our presentation, we both did a good job of succinctly presenting all of the most important information about the lunar map to the class. One aspect that was well done was how we created dialogue from the start of the presentation by creating a game for people to guess and win candy if they were the closest. We kept up our interactivity throughout the presentation as we continued to ask questions and reward those who answered with candy. By the time we finished presenting and started our discussion questions, we felt that the class was more eager to participate by contributing to the discussion and earning candy for their answers. We also thought that the discussion questions themselves were good, as they were very open-ended and allowed everyone to come up with interesting conclusions about the subject. Overall, to name only a couple of major talking points, we were able to discuss how this map fueled this idea of American superiority among the average white American people, how it created this idea of the USA being destined to be the first one to the moon, and how Wood would have talked about how this map comes from the “USAF” and how that politically influences the development of this map.

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