Mystery on Mall: Case Closed

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Last week we asked for help identifying a picture.

Let's call it a Slight of Flight, space flight that is. The mystery image is of the heat shield from the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia.

In 1969, Columbia carried astronauts Neil Armstrong, Mike Collins and Buzz Aldrin to the moon and back for their historic mission. The epoxy-resin ablative heat shield protected Columbia from the 5,000 °F temperatures during its reentry through Earth’s atmosphere.

The photograph was taken by the National Air and Space Museum's photographer Carolyn Russo. Her new book and upcoming exhibition, In Plane View: Abstractions of Flight.

Russo uses fine art photography to bring out new visual dimensions of the iconic aircraft and spacecraft of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. Her unconventional approach reveals new layers of meaning from the whimsical to the profound in some of history's most revered flying machines. The publication by powerHouse Books features a foreword by Patty Wagstaff and introduction and essays by Anne Collins Goodyear, assistant curator of prints and drawings at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery who specializes in the relationship of art, science, and technology.

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