Things to Do on the Way to the Moon


To the moon...To the moon...

To the moon…

If you’re following the 40th anniversary recreation of the Apollo 11 mission on We Choose the Moon (a you-are-there, moment-by-moment immersion in the first lunar mission) you know that the mighty Saturn V rocket lifted off its pad at the Kennedy Space Center on July 16th. Twelve minutes later, the astronauts were in orbit around the earth, docked the command module with the lunar lander, and are now on their way to the moon.

You can follow the progress of the mission at the website, or on Twitter:

Capcom transmissions

Spacecraft transmissions

Eagle transmissions

If you missed any part of the recreation, you’ll be able to revisit any part of it after the landing on Monday, July 20.

In the meantime, we have almost four days until that landing… so how to pass the time? (Are we there yet?) How about a little reading?

The absolute classic of the Apollo genre is Andrew Chaikin’s A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts, a thrilling account of the entire Apollo program. Well worth your time if you haven’t read this one.

Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon by Craig Nelson is a newly-published account of the path to the moon, and incorporates recently declassified material. I’m reading this one right now, and it’s one of the best books covering the Apollo program that I’ve read.

For our inflight movie, we’ll be showing In the Shadow of the Moon, a fascinating documentary of the men who went the moon, and what came after. Their eloquence, and humility — especially given that the members of this class of achievers is so very small — is quite moving. This one was in theaters last year, and if you missed it, you owe it to yourself to see it now.

Finally, for those looking to really immerse themselves, see From the Earth to the Moon – The Signature Edition, a Tom Hanks-produced 12-hour HBO miniseries (at the time, HBO’s most expensive production ever). It’s a superb docudrama (17 Emmy nominations) about the entire space program, from Mercury through the final Apollo missions. Don’t miss.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey. I’ll have more early next week as the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 reaches its climax.

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