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History Detectives: Space Exploration

Airs Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: The five History Detectives (from L-R) Gwen Wright, Eduardo Pagan, Tukufu Zuberi, Elyse Luray and Wes Cowan.

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Wesley Cowan, independent appraiser and auctioneer; Gwendolyn Wright, historian and professor of architecture, Columbia University; Elyse Luray, independent appraiser and expert in art history; Dr. Eduardo Pagán, professor of history and American studies at Arizona State University; and Tukufu Zuberi, professor of sociology and the director of the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, leave no stone unturned as they travel around the country to explore the stories behind local folklore, prominent figures and family legends.

This ceramic chip holds the work of six major artists, including Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, David Novros, John Chamberlain and Forrest Myers. Did Apollo 12 smuggle a chip like this to the moon?
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Above: This ceramic chip holds the work of six major artists, including Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, David Novros, John Chamberlain and Forrest Myers. Did Apollo 12 smuggle a chip like this to the moon?

The "History Detectives" season premiere launches into space for an exhilarating hour exploring the excitement, promise and ingenuity that fueled America’s foray into space exploration. First, detective Tukufu Zuberi tracks a scrap of metallic Mylar that could be one of America’s early satellites — balloons — in the segment “Satelloon.” Then, in the “Space Boot” segment, Elyse Luray tries on a jury-rigged ski boot with a magnetic metal brick bolted to the bottom that may be one of the first prototypes for a NASA space boot. Finally, in the segment “Moon Museum,” Gwendolyn Wright investigates the audacious notion that Andy Warhol’s art may be on the moon.

"History Detectives" is on Facebook.

Video

Video Excerpt: Space Exploration: Moon Museum

Above: Become a History Detective and help PBS solve the mystery of John F. Did this elusive NASA engineer help put Andy Warhol art on the moon? In 1969, six major artists, including Andy Warhol, conspired to put their artwork on the moon. They shrank their artwork to fit on a tiny ceramic wafer, with a plan to smuggle the chip on board Apollo 12. A Florida art curator has a clone of the chip. He wants to know if the original made it to the moon.