Those were the days
January 9, 2005 10:14 AM   Subscribe

Thanks to Yahoo's video search, I've spent the morning thrilling to movies from Nasa's earlier space programs. Ed White does the first american spacewalk, the crew of apollo 8 sends out a christmas message (wonder how that would play these days), Neil Armstrong goes for a walk, Buzz Aldrin gives a science lesson, John Young goes muddin', Apollo 17 lifts off from the moon. Galileo gets his due via Apollo 15, as does Kubrick, via Skylab. all this makes the Challenger explosion just incredibly sad.

Though I still don't know why searching for apollo 8 turned up gay porn and I don't wanna know.

What is really interesting though, is watching this Apollo 17 astronaut work on the moon. His body is moving in all sorts of subtle ways that highlight how odd it must be to work in lower gravity.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (34 comments total)
I guess I can't flip out because the link clearly said it was gay porn. But, geez!
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:37 AM on January 9, 2005

Some excellent clips. Cheers.
posted by ZippityBuddha at 10:39 AM on January 9, 2005

Great stuff! I would give my eyeteeth to tear-ass around in that Rover, though I would imagine that its power cells are depleted by now.

Also, from what I understand, traveling in the Rover wasn't exactly tearing-ass anyway. When I was in highschool, an Apollo astronaut (I think it was John Young of Apollo 16) came and spoke with us about his experiences. He said that the Rover was much slower than it appeared on film.

Still, one would be on the fucking moon, so I guess it wouldn't really matter.
posted by Tullius at 10:40 AM on January 9, 2005

Great set of links. Thanks!
posted by vernondalhart at 10:43 AM on January 9, 2005

I wonder why they lack video of Apollo 12 on the Nasa site.
posted by Captaintripps at 10:57 AM on January 9, 2005

Mayor Curley: " ... wonder how that would play these days ... "?

Well I can't tell you exactly how it would play out these days, but I remember how it played out back in Christmas '68.

I remember that lady that was head of the American Atheists Union or whatever raised holy hell about it, but it went no where.

What I remember most was seeing it on live TV. And when Borman closed by saying, "God bless all of you on the good, good Earth."my dad said, "Those boys are a long way from home. And they sure know it."
posted by Relay at 11:05 AM on January 9, 2005

The two Skylab videos are awesome. One question, though: how are they getting that effect in the "Kubrik" video? It absolutely looks like there's rotation-created gravity, but the shot of that wheel in the other clip clearly shows it in zero g. What am I not seeing?
posted by Occultatio at 11:26 AM on January 9, 2005

I was a kid growing up in Canada during the Apollo era and I watched every one of the launches with avid interest.

At a time when the US was in such cultural upheaval, the voices of the astronauts and Mission Control somehow represented everything I admired most about America, all that technical jargon delivered with a quiet calmness and confidence in the face of incredible risk.

It was never more obvious than when things went wrong; Apollo 13 and the Challenger, that phrase "obviously a major malfunction", said without a hint of panic. In the longer recording (which I've never found since), he also says something about "discreet sources". That has always struck me as almost unbearably poignant; it's a direct reference to nothing but data, but it carries the weight of so much more loss.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:37 AM on January 9, 2005

Occultatio: as I recall, They rotated the entire set under Bowman's feet and as if that weren't enough, rotated the camera as well.

Kubrick was a sick, beautiful man. <3
posted by basicchannel at 11:39 AM on January 9, 2005

Upon review, you weren't referring to 2001, but I love Stanley anyways :(.
posted by basicchannel at 11:40 AM on January 9, 2005

"discreet sources"

Argh. "discrete sources".


 discreet adj.
 Marked by, exercising, or showing prudence and wise self-restraint in speech and behavior; circumspect.
 Free from ostentation or pretension; modest.

still applies.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:51 AM on January 9, 2005

I wonder how the camera is zooming out and panning up in the apollo 17 launch clip.
posted by bigtimes at 11:55 AM on January 9, 2005

Timing, bigtimes, impeccable timing. Knowledge of the mission schedule to the second.

(that or a really good sound stage.. heh)
posted by socratic at 12:01 PM on January 9, 2005

"I just happened to find gay porn, I swear!"

posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:39 PM on January 9, 2005

There's also Alan Shepard's batting golf balls into the lunar distance before boarding the Apollo XIV Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) in 1971 [RealVideo Clip - download - 14 min 11 sec] ... left on the moon's surface along with the javelin thrown by Edgar Mitchell.
posted by ericb at 12:47 PM on January 9, 2005

Growing up during NASA's heyday makes watching today's "space on a budget" programs very painful. One can only imagine where we'd be if we had maintained the pace we had in the 60's.
posted by tommasz at 12:47 PM on January 9, 2005

One can only imagine where we'd be if we had maintained the pace we had in the 60's.

posted by ori at 1:01 PM on January 9, 2005

Peter North - no real hits. And you say you found gay porn?!?
posted by meehawl at 1:11 PM on January 9, 2005

Try Matt Ramsey, meehaw! That was his nom de ghey.

This is a great post! I really miss the Space Age.
posted by WolfDaddy at 1:58 PM on January 9, 2005

the other speech Nixon had prepared

Interesting that there are no religious references in that speech.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 2:12 PM on January 9, 2005

Occultatio: you're right: it is a zero g environment (well, micro gravity; they were in freefall). The guy running around the perimeter of Skylab is not being 'pulled' to the walls by gravity. It's just that his forward momentum is tending to cause him to race into the wall which is (constantly) coming up to meet him.

To visualise how this would feel, imagine running along a flat slope (on Earth) as fast as you can and then using your speed to carry you up a steep slope. If it was steep enough, you'd feel a tendency for your legs to buckle under you. It's not that Earth's gravity has increased at that point -- you're changing your direction of motion and this takes effort which you feel in your legs.

It must have felt very odd to do it in freefall.
posted by freddles at 2:15 PM on January 9, 2005

Yeah, I found gay porn. Not that there's anything wrong with that....

must be something about moon or the number 8.

I used to be huge into the space program, knew it all by heart, got to see the third shuttle mission blast off, but sometime after skylab ( was a kid at the time) i sorted lost interest. "You mean we had a space station and they let it die?! WTF?! And the russians patched Mir together for all those years?! W.T. F?!!!!"

Ori- Would we be broke? We tend to spend a lot on defense and that hasn't killed us yet.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:23 PM on January 9, 2005

for apollo/gemini fans with money to spend, i highly recommend the DVDs available from spacecraft films. tons and tons of content.
posted by bruceo at 2:25 PM on January 9, 2005

...and a new attendee scores! Wonderful post, Brandon.
posted by apocalypse miaow at 2:25 PM on January 9, 2005

Fools, they're not really on the moon, you can't see any stars in the background and the light is coming from the grassy knoll, or something like that.

Watching the clips couldn't help remind me of what it would be like to be the lonely astronaut.
posted by ciderwoman at 2:34 PM on January 9, 2005

Alan Shepard Ate My Golf Balls.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 9:54 PM on January 9, 2005

(The gay videos are on a site called Apollo's Temple. Also, you must turn off adult filtering.)

> The Rover was a lightweight vehicle, weighing only 462 terrestrial pounds empty - 70 pounds on the Moon. It was battery-powered and had a potential range of about 50 kilometers. On level ground, the Rover was capable of about 10 - 12 kilometers per hour and, when one added to the driving time the time spent on Rover deployment and housekeeping chores, the savings over a walking traverse was not particularly impressive [but it saved on astronaut consumables ... such as air]. The Rover could carry up to 970 terrestrial pounds of payload and, when one subtracted about 600 pounds for the astronauts and their life-support gear, there was still plenty of capacity for communications equipment and a generous assortment of scientific paraphernalia.

Timeline of Challenger explosion, including transcript of words spoken by Steve Nesbitt (provided to media pool) as well as mission control FIDO (flight dynamics officer) team. Nesbitt at first did not realize there had been an explosion and continued to read from data screens; his careful phrasing reflected his role as a media liaison rather than a part of the flight control hierarchy (he was actually in a separate room). It was the FIDO analyst who said "Flight, FIDO, filters (radar) got discreting sources. We're go." In this case, GO signalled the ready state of the range safety officer whose responsibility was to remote detonate the Solid Rocket Boosters. They were getting "discrete" radar blips showing an orbiter stack flying in all directions.

The main reason there's so little video from Apollo 12 is that the camera was accidentally pointed at the sun during setup by astronaut Alan Bean.
posted by dhartung at 10:03 PM on January 9, 2005

Videos on Metafilter
posted by piskycritter at 7:24 AM on January 10, 2005

I wonder how the camera is zooming out and panning up in the apollo 17 launch clip.

Houston was controlling the movement of the camera.
posted by gubo at 8:12 AM on January 10, 2005

meehawl: you need to turn off safe search to find what you're looking for.
posted by skynxnex at 8:43 AM on January 10, 2005

you need to turn off safe search

I see. Silly nanny software.

The result set is a lot more impressive now.,
posted by meehawl at 9:10 AM on January 10, 2005

Check out the approach speed on the soyuz-apollo docking. The cosmonauts RAMMED them. Great post!
posted by coelecanth at 9:19 AM on January 10, 2005

Sorry -- that docking is at the 1:40 mark of the Skylab clip.
posted by coelecanth at 9:21 AM on January 10, 2005

If you like these clips you must see For All Mankind by Al Reinart. It features some of those clips and tons more from the Apollo missions.

Look for the Criterion version. Lots of great features added to the DVD.
posted by JBennett at 9:32 AM on January 10, 2005

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