On July 21th, 1969 Neil Armstrong
and Buzz Aldrin
waited within paper thin walls on the surface of the Moon. Hours ago they had made history by being the first humans to land and walk on its surface
. Now the only thing left to do was take off. All that entailed was performing the final test of the Lunar Module
: launching from the lunar surface with no on-site support or possibility of fixes if something failed. [more inside]
This dad puts us all to shame.
All I ever got from my dad was a train set.
In 1972, Tom Wolfe was assigned to do a piece for Rolling Stone on Apollo 17, NASA's last moon mission
(Google book preview). That turned into a four-part series on the astronauts, written in a frantic three weeks. From there, he thought he could quickly expand the piece into a book
(Gbp). But that book, on what makes an astronaut, ended up taking a much broader scope and more time. In 1979, The Right Stuff
was published, and later was made into a well-regarded 3 hour movie
. A few years later, Andrew Chaikin started on a similar path to Wolfe, more broadly documenting the US moon missions in his book, A Man on the Moon
. The book was published in 1994, and HBO used it as the basis of a 12-part mini-series that they aired in 1998
, titled From the Earth to the Moon
. [more inside]
Bras in Space: The Incredible True Story Behind Upcoming Film "Spacesuit"
When we think of the Apollo 11 moon landing, what do we think of? President Kennedy’s bold vision. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s heroism (unfortunately we rarely think about Command Module Pilot Michael Collins). Perhaps we even think of the incredible engineers, rocket scientists, astrophysicists and all the other geniuses at NASA who made it possible. Now we want you to think about your grandma’s bra. [more inside]
Distractions in Space
: Because astronauts also have problems with directions, coworkers, and poop.
, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his team have recovered several Apollo F-1 rocket engines
from the bottom of the ocean. [more inside]
In March of 1969, Apollo 9
was launched into low earth orbit as critical test for future lunar landings. The Duet of Spider & Gumdrop
is a half hour film, set to music from The Yellow Submarine
, that publicized highlights of the mission.
An Audience With Neil Armstrong
is an hour long interview with Neil Armstrong about the moon landings from 2011, including a comparative view of footage from the Eagle's landing alongside Google Moon maps. [more inside]
Initially the conventional wisdom was that spacesuits “would be like rockets: adamantine, metallic, armored and smooth.” But in practice, rigid spacesuits repeatedly failed under testing. So when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon they were protected from the vacuum of space by flexible spacesuits crafted from twenty-one layers of fabric, “each with a distinct yet interrelated function, custom-sewn for them by seamstresses whose usual work was fashioning bras and girdles” for the Playtex Corporation.
The Spirit of the Spacesuit
, Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo [more inside]
50 years ago today, on May 25 1961, US President John F. Kennedy decided
"...this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth." Eight years later the Apollo program fulfilled the task
, leaving the world with a legacy that includes advances in computers and communciation
, lessons in managing complex projects
, technological innovations
and new views
of the Earth
. [more inside]
For All Mankind
"Al Reinert’s documentary For All Mankind is the story of the twenty-four men who traveled to the moon, told in their words, in their voices, using the images of their experiences. Forty years after the first moon landing, it remains the most radical, visually dazzling work of cinema yet made about this earthshaking event." "For All Mankind is irreplaceable: one of a kind and likely to remain so. It is, formally, among the most radical American films of the past quarter century and, emotionally, among the most powerfully affecting. It makes its impossible title stick. In For All Mankind, we all lift off together, and we all come home the same way, and few movies have captured so well the rhapsodic absurdity of our common voyage." 1
They Were There
is a 30 min video from IBM, who is turning 100 this year. "told by first-hand witnesses—current and retired employees and clients—who were there when IBM helped to change the way world works.
Built as part of the fifth /dev/fort
developer retreat, Spacelog.org
allows you to explore early space missions via the original NASA transcripts. Currently live are Mercury 6
which made John Glenn the first American in orbit, and the 'successful failure' Apollo 13
(The transcribed key moment
and the original
). Alongside the transcripts are supporting materials from the NASA archives including photography
and descriptions of the mission phases
. The developers are looking for help
to digitise the Gemini 7, Apollo 8 and Apollo 11 missions.
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the Annual John H. Glenn Lecture
took place at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
Tickets were in high demand
for the event, which featured the Apollo 11 astronauts - among others - discussing the past, present, and future of manned spaceflight. [more inside]
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
has returned its first images of the Apollo moon landing sites
. The spacecraft’s onboard camera
photographed Lunar Module descent stages at five of the six Apollo sites—11
, and 17
. The Apollo 12 site will be photographed in coming weeks. [more inside]
We Chose the Moon:
The JFK Library and Museum
has just launched this interactive web experience using archival audio, video, photos, and recorded transmissions to re-create, in real time, the July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 mission to the moon
At the mostly abandoned Moffett Field in an abandoned McDonald's, digital archeologists attempt to restore, recover and archive abandoned high resolution imagery and data from previous manned Moon missions, using an abandoned Ampex 2" tape drive found in a chicken coop - the last working machine in the world, restored by the last man alive capable of rebuilding the heads. This is likely only part of their weird story.
. On the 40th anniversary of the NASA's Apollo 8 mission
[caution: weird JFK animation], which answered Stewart Brand's
-inspired question "Why haven't we seen a photograph of the whole Earth yet?"
with an unforgettable image of a seemingly fragile and isolated blue planet
editor Oliver Morton -- author of a new book
on photosynthesis called Eating the Sun
-- disputes the notion that the Earth is fragile and isolated. "The fragility is an illusion," he writes. "The planet Earth is a remarkably robust thing, and this strength flows from its ancient and intimate connection to the cosmos beyond. To see the photo this way does not undermine its environmental relevance -- but it does recast it."
Forty Years Ago Today
The first humans to leave earth orbit, Frank Borman, James A. Lovell, and William A. Anders, and their Christmas message. [more inside]
Has man really set foot on the moon? There have certainly been a lot of claims that the whole Apollo missions were one giant hoax. Adam and Jamie at Mythbusters
examine the claims of the Hoax Believers one by one. Did they use a wire rig or slow down the film
to simulate the 1/6 moon gravity? What would it look like in real 1/6 G?
Would a footprint in the lunar regolith have maintained it's shape even if there was no moisture
to keep the material together? Why was the flag waving so much
if there was no wind on the moon? Why are the shadows on the moon not parallel
if they are coming from a single light source? Why can we see the astronauts when they are in shadows if there isn't a second light source? To finish it all off they shoot a laser at the moon
to see if the reflector they supposedly left there is actually there.
In honor of this morning's impressive lunar eclipse
, another moon-photo post: For decades you had to be a scholar or specialist to get access to the original Apollo flight films, most of which have been stored in freezers at Houston's Johnson Space Center. Now Arizona State University and NASA are scanning the negatives with high-resolution equipment and creating an online digital archive
of downloadable images for the general public.
Here are the first few
, from Apollo 15.
(Similar topics previously: 1
You've read about
NASA's plan to use new post-shuttle launch vehicles to return to the moon
But what, exactly, is the US planning to do
on the moon? What would a semi-permanent moonbase look like? And why return at all? NASA's announced answers to these questions remain vague. But last year eleven sets of responses to these questions were offered to NASA in the development proposals submitted to NASA by eleven Aerospace concerns
, each of which suggested different designs, missions, and philosophies for NASA's return to the moon. Some common themes:
"Provide nationally assured access to orbital locations for the placement of observation systems" and "assured access to space for development of force projection systems and movements of logistics." (pdf link, p. 5)
"Commercialize space products and services" (pdf link, p.6)
Keeping the public inspired with "regularly placed program milestones." (pdf link, p.7)
It's interesting to compare the details of these proposals. But taken together, they raise a broader question: does NASA's fear that the public will lose interest in this commercializing, militarizing, moon venture reflect an awareness that that the vision
has finally been lost?
The Apollo Lunar Surface Journal.
Journals, records and some images from the Apollo lunar missions.
NASA Challenges Moon Hoax Conspiracy
After decades of almost ignoring claims that the Apollo missions were hoaxed, NASA commissioned aerospace writer James Olberg
to write an official rebuttle. Perhaps a bit more reasonable than the NASA Stooge
, the book is aimed at the general public.
Conspiracy or not?
Convinced to sit and watch FOX's show on whether we landed on the moon, I found myself wondering why there was no evidence
against the hoax presented. Is this is clearly another
feed on the conspiracy theories
surrounding JFK's administration? Or was it just another "When cars attack?" (If so, I didn't find this as funny)