In the Shadow of the Moon

I wanted to take a second to mention that I was able to see, as part of the Seattle International Film Festival, a new documentary called “In the Shadow of the Moon”. The film is about the Apollo missions, but is unique to others like “Apollo 13” and “From the Earth to the Moon” because it contains a lot of footage that has, to my knowledge, never been seen before by the public – as well as interviews with 8 of the 9 living astronauts that were involved in the lunar landings.

The footage is fantastic and amazing – including a shot taken by a camera aboard a discarded Saturn V booster stage (I think) as the Apollo spacecraft headed off to the moon. The camera and film magazine, we were told, was jettisoned from the booster stage for reentry into our atmosphere, where it was caught by aircraft towing nets. Amazing.

After the film, there was an impromptu question-and-answer session with the director and Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders – photographer of the famed Earthrise photograph. It turned out that I was sitting next to him and his wife throughout the movie. He talked about how he’s not sure that we could accomplish what the Apollo program did today because of bureaucracy and how, even then, the program lost support with politicians the very moment that Apollo 11 landed on the moon. That was a bit disappointing, of course, but perhaps it’s not far off the mark.

A few years ago, I also had the opportunity to meet Gene Cernan – the last human being to walk on the moon. Being in the same room as these guys is electrifying and I left the theater last night telling a friend, “I’m going to send something to the moon.” I mean it.

The film is expected to have a wider release in September, we were told, so if you see it playing nearby, you ought to go see it. It’s been a long time coming that someone chronicled the stories of the men who’ve been to the moon and back and every bit of the 90 minutes is fascinating and entertaining. Alan Bean, particularly, is hysterical and FIRST ought to see what they can do about getting him to come see us or something.

So, yeah. Movie’s awesome. Astronauts rock.

That sounds Great!! I always love to hear about the space program as it started. Now, if they could do a documentory like that for each of the missions, that would make my day. Every should know about the early space program, and the Apollo Misions are one the the most important to know about.

The real shadow of the Moon (Astronomy Picture of the Day).

I believe this will be released to a wider audience this weekend and I am hoping to be able to see it. For those of us who have grown up with space travel, a launch might not seem so spectacular. But to us baby boomers, wow, this was one of our lives’ defining moments. My parents got us out of bed to watch the first steps taken on the moon. It still amazes me.

Great documentary. Working at JPL, they gave us all a private screening. It was amazing. I had never knew that whole thing about how Buzz and Neil may have not made it back. It was a brilliant documentary.

I for one cannot wait to get a chance to see this movie.

Because every time NASA is involved, I’ve always heard a great story or learned something new. Astronaut Kevin Kregel told some of my Advanced Space Academy trainees and I some great stories from his 4 shuttle missions, and there was a gentleman on my tour in ireland last summer who had helped create the guidance system for the LM who had given us some neat stories.

And I have to agree with M. Krass, Alan Bean is great. I got the chance to attend a lecture he gave with Andrew Chaikin in 1999. I left with my ribs bruised from laughing so much. My signed copy of his “Apollo” book is still one of my prized posessions.