'Ready Jet Go!' Takes Kids to the Moon Today on PBS to Celebrate Apollo 11

PBS KIDS' "Ready Jet Go!: One Small Step" premieres June 17, 2019.
PBS KIDS' "Ready Jet Go!: One Small Step" premieres June 17, 2019. (Image credit: Courtesy of Wind Dancer Films)

PBS KIDS is celebrating this summer's Apollo 11 anniversary today (June 17) with a special program "Ready Jet Go!: One Small Step," which celebrates and explores the lunar landing.

This special, stemming from the hit animated STEM series "Ready Jet Go!" will star the show's animated gang of curious kids and characters, who will dive into the Apollo 11 mission and take the audience on an adventure of its own!

What makes this lunar program so special is that it will feature Amy Mainzer, an astronomer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. Mainzer is the science curriculum consultant for "Ready Jet Go!" and is often featured in the show's live-action segments. As Mainzer told Space.com, this Apollo special will teach a timeless lesson to the show's young audience.

Related: Apollo 11 at 50: A Complete Guide to the Historic Moon Landing Mission

"Just like the Apollo astronauts who worked together with their friends and their teams to pull off something truly amazing, if you work together with your friends and try hard, you can pull off some amazing things too. And don't be afraid to dream big. To me, that's the lesson of Apollo," Mainzer said. 

The show takes big space and science ideas like how gravity works and what makes a planet (and why Pluto isn’t one) and makes them not only accessible, but fun for their young audience. 

PBS KIDS' "Ready Jet Go!: One Small Step" premieres June 17, 2019.  (Image credit: Courtesy of Wind Dancer Films)

"We're teaching big cosmic concepts, but at the same time our audience loves these ideas," Mainzer said. "Kids love space, they love learning about science, and all we have to do is provide them with some of the language and tools so that they can explain it themselves." 

While the Apollo 11 lunar landing happened almost 50 years ago, kids are just as eager as ever to learn about the rockets, astronauts and science that was involved in the incredible mission. To include a young audience in the conversation about Apollo, the team at PBS KIDS use the power of storytelling to shape the new special.

At the heart of it, the Apollo 11 lunar landing was a spectacular adventure. And so, by reframing mission details that could otherwise be confusing or too technical for a younger audience as pieces of an exciting story, "Ready Jet Go!" makes learning about the Apollo program and human spaceflight inviting and accessible for its audience.

PBS KIDS' "Ready Jet Go!: One Small Step" premieres June 17, 2019.  (Image credit: Courtesy of Wind Dancer Films)

Apollo 11 is perhaps the most well-known spaceflight mission of all time. Launching the first humans to ever step foot on the moon, Apollo 11 made history and inspired young people at the time to get involved with space and science. But, even though kids today (and even many adults) weren't around to witness the launch, they can still be inspired by the tremendous accomplishments of the mission.

"Ready Jet Go!: One Small Step" airs today, June 17 at 3 p.m. EDT, on PBS KIDS. It will also be available to stream online and on the free PBS KIDS Video App beginning today. 

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Chelsea Gohd
Senior Writer

Chelsea “Foxanne” Gohd joined Space.com in 2018 and is now a Senior Writer, writing about everything from climate change to planetary science and human spaceflight in both articles and on-camera in videos. With a degree in Public Health and biological sciences, Chelsea has written and worked for institutions including the American Museum of Natural History, Scientific American, Discover Magazine Blog, Astronomy Magazine and Live Science. When not writing, editing or filming something space-y, Chelsea "Foxanne" Gohd is writing music and performing as Foxanne, even launching a song to space in 2021 with Inspiration4. You can follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd and @foxannemusic.