GARRETSON, S.D. (KELO) — At the Earth Resources Observation and Science Center just outside of Garretson, the Apollo 11 mission is on a lot of people’s minds.
The federal government facility’s mission is to store and analyze images of the Earth from two satellites orbiting the planet.
Jon Christopherson is a principal system engineer for a government contractor at EROS.
“Not everybody gets to be astronauts, but those of us who are lucky, we still get to look at the Earth every day at our jobs,” Christopherson said.
EROS, run by the U.S. Geological Survey, is home to the largest civilian collection of images of the Earth’s land surface in existence.
“I think a lot of us here, our business is space, looking at the Earth from outer space. And these early days of space exploration, and when we got to see those first images taken by the astronauts were a huge inspiration to many of us,” Christopherson said.
It was early space missions and the images of Earth produced by them that set in motion the large government center in southeast South Dakota.
Christopherson says the images produced by some of the early missions to space brought the need to create a facility like EROS.
Apollo 11 is on display at EROS for employees, government contractors and the public.
“It is a good excuse for us to pause and look back on one of the absolutely astounding achievements in humanity,” Christopherson said. “When we put our minds to it, we can do incredible things.”
The displays are open to the public for the next two weeks. EROS has tours at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekdays.