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Space Mania

Pop Culture Fell In Love With Space

America's successes in space exploration drove the country space crazy, leading companies to cash in on space.

Museum Exhibit: Board Games, Puzzles, And More!

Popular culture wasn’t immune to the excitement as NASA ramped up its efforts to land a man on the Moon. The most visible expressions are in movies such as the 1968 hit – 2001: A Space Odyssey and the 1966 debut of the original Star Trek television series. But the excitement of spaceflight reached far beyond these most popular channels. There were books, special editions of magazines, commemorative NASA glasses and plates, dolls and figurines, and model rocket kits. And there were board games bringing the excitement of the space age to a level that the whole family could enjoy together when there weren’t any real missions to watch on TV or listen to on the radio.


Issued in 1998, this version of the classic property ownership game comes with a space age twist. The game pieces are different. Instead of the dog, thimble or car of the original versions, the US Space Program edition gives players the option of playing as a satellite, an astronaut, a shuttle, a lunar rover, a space capsule, a lunar lander, the Hubble Space Telescope, or the Mars Sojourner Rover. And instead of the traditional properties, players try to own items and destinations related to the space program like space centers and rockets. Where traditional Monopoly uses houses and hotels to increase property value, the space version uses hangars and space centers. There are Moon and Earth cards in place of Chance and Community Chest. The game comes with a complete mission manual with additional information on the US Space Program.



This game, issued in 1967, is based on the Apollo lunar program. Players move around the board similar to the game “Monopoly,” collecting items needed for spaceflight like rocket parts, astronauts, fuel, and launch pads. Once a player has all the pieces, he can blast off for his mission to the Moon. Or try. Other players in the game can attempt to sabotage his mission through espionage. Along with the excitement of Apollo, this game has a clear influence from the Cold War more generally.



The Apollo 11 Puzzle showing the crew of the first lunar landing mission featuring artwork by Alton Stanley Tobey (November 5, 1914 – January 4, 2005) was first issued in 1969. The puzzle from LIFE featuring a picture of the Earth taken by astronauts on their way to the Moon was issued in 1969. The Astronaut Picture Puzzle was issued towards the end of the 1960s by Jaymar.


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