The Pointe

MidPointe Library's Official Blog

#TriviaTuesday: Who was the first American in Outer Space?

To the Moon and...then to Mars!

Today, May 14, 2019, a “Humans to Mars Summit” began in Washington, D.C., to discuss yet another “giant leap for mankind” (*).

A panorama of Mars

A panorama of Mars

It was hosted by the nonprofit group, “Explore Mars” with National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Jim Bridenstine expected to speak.

mars from nasa.gif

The program will explore returning astronauts to the Moon in 2024 with plans of sending them to Planet Mars by the 2030s! (1)

According to, “The annual three-day gathering...brings together scientists, engineers, academics, government officials and other industry leaders to discuss the future challenges and the current progress humanity has made toward launching a crewed mission to the Red Planet by the 2030s…”

At MidPointe Library, librarians were “over the moon” when they heard the news.  That’s because their free, popular “Summer Reading Program” for all ages -- set for June 1 through July 31 -- is themed “A Universe of Stories”!  

Nothing like a major Space summit to add excitement to a fun and educational endeavor!

With the Moon and Mars in the news, Summer Reading participants can look forward to lots of Space-related fun, special guests, reading for prizes and more.

To celebrate today’s good news about a future journey to Mars, the librarians blasted off a spatially-themed TuesdayTrivia question:

Who was the first American astronaut to fly in Space?

The answer : On May 5, 1961, Astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in Space. (2) He wasn’t the first person to reach those heights. Just one month before, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human ever to travel to Outer Space (3).  

first astronaut.jpg

(*) The famous phrase uttered by Ohio Astronaut Neil Amstrong when he became the first man to step onto the Moon’s surface in July 1969. This summer marks the 50th anniversary of that historic walk.


(1)“Humans to Mars Summit 2019 Launches in D.C. This Week: Watch It Live!”

(2) “Who was Alan Shepherd?” available via:

(3)”Yuri Gagarin: First Man In Space” :

For more information on the Moon/Mars project, click on:


Photo of Earth and reflection of Mars from

Moving photo of Mars:

If you’re a fan of all-things-Space, add MidPointe Library to your itinerary!

There’s no better synopsis of the role of women in America’s Space program than the exhibit designed and created by the International Women’s Air & Space Museum of Cleveland.

It’s called “Rocket Girls” and it’s on display at the Middletown location of MidPointe Library, 125 South Broad Street, now through May 31.

While you’re here...

Check out our vast collection of Outer Space-related materials : > Catalog > Outer Space

And our voluminous eLibrary of research databases, books, music, TV shows and more : > eLibrary

No library card? No problem! Sign up for your free card today at any MidPointe location : Middletown, West Chester, Trenton, Monroe, Liberty Township (2nd floor, Liberty Center) and onboard the colorful Library On Wheels Bookmobile.

In the meantime, keep your eyes on the skies! And don’t forget to mark your calendar for MidPointe’s free, “spatial”  “Summer Reading Program” June 1 though July 31!