From the Earth to the Moon

We’ve been enjoying my birthday present this holiday. I was in a rush packing. No I wasn’t, but I happened to leave one aspect of my ‘leisurely’ packing until the last minute, and by then I had no time or patience for selecting some nice DVDs to take to watch while away. So I grabbed the box with From the Earth to the Moon, because we can watch that umpteen times and still come back for more.

And as we’ve nerded merrily I’ve been struck by the six degrees of separation theory, yet again. We watched Apollo 12 last night. The one with Alan Bean, who is the one Frank Cottrell Boyce met when he wrote Cosmic. I’ve actually met someone who’s met someone who was on the moon!! And he seems so nice! Alan Bean, I mean. (Oops, that rhymed.) Frank is also nice, but I’m concentrating on my astronaut here.

One Lucky Guy, by Alan Bean

I know there is a risk I like the actor playing Alan Bean, rather than the real astronaut, but I feel they’ve done quite well with most of their casting throughout the twelve episodes, and I’m really struck by the different way the different crews got on with each other. Or not. Bit of a shock that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin had ‘issues’. That makes the friendship between all three on Apollo 12 so much more valuable.

The Apollo programme was responsible for getting me to read newspapers, and to watch the news on television regularly. Until then I had very little interest in boring, grown-up things. I cut out every single thing about Apollo and stuck it into my folder on space. (Wonder where that is now?)

If I’d known at the time that there’d be this great television series about the Apollo programme, and that something so useful as videos and DVDs would be invented, I’d have wanted to speed history up. Lucky that Apollo 13 was made into a film, and that Tom Hanks was so taken with the whole space thing that he made twelve hours of Apollo films for us to nerd over.

We’ll most likely watch some more tonight.

6 responses to “From the Earth to the Moon

  1. It’s extraordinary to reflect that, in relatively few years’ time, there may be no-one left alive who has walked on the Moon.

    So many people now take it for granted that ‘we’ once did this, and imply that we still can (how often do you hear, ‘We can send a man to the moon, but we can’t make a good [Insert cause of grievance here]’ ?).

    But the fact is that ‘we’ can’t do it anymore, and that the lunar astronauts of old are rapidly becoming the equivalent of knights of old, semi-legendary figures from a misty past. There is a part of me that think it’s not worth the cost of returning to the Moon or pursuing any kind of manned space flight; but the geek in me kicks against that, and wants it to happen again, somehow. It would be a shame, never to go back.

  2. I agree with you, Nick. Maybe you could write a book about this?

  3. You noticed that the actor who played Pete Conrad (‘Romano’) wasn’t the same actor who played him in the first episode? Never knew why that was.

    I read somewhere that not only do we not still have any Saturn 5s, we don’t even still have the blueprints to build them. NASA threw them out when they were having a de-clutter. This is why I do not hold with house doctoring.

  4. I didn’t, Anne. Trust you to keep track of this kind of thing. Now I’ll have to go back and check it. Sigh…

    Oh, so a bit like the BBC recording over early programmes to save on tape?

  5. By all accounts the Saturn 5s were a near-miracle of engineering. Not one ever blew up or malfunctioned in a serious way. (There was one tragic capsule fire but that wasn’t the rocket’s fault).

    Given that they contained the explosive power of a small A-bomb, that’s quite remarkable. And fortunate.

  6. The things you know! I’m so impressed.

    They were cleverer back then, I think. We may have laptops and things, but standards are definitely dropping. Although watching the series I’m frightened and surprised by how bad and hurried things were. As a child at the time I took it for granted that the adults knew it all.


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