Lots of parties. We’ve put together a big list of local anniversary celebrations and events, and NASA has one as well. A favorite: Apollo 50: Go for the Moon on the National Mall in Washington D.C., where the Saturn V will be full-motion projection mapped on to the Washington Monument along with a 40-foot-wide recreation of the original Kennedy Space Center countdown clock.
Watch and Listen.
- Apollo 11, the excellent CNN Films documentary (with 99% on Rotten Tomatoes; here’s the trailer), will be available on Hulu on the 20th. (If you ever get the opportunity to see it on IMAX, it’s worth it for the big-screen experience of the previously unreleased Apollo 70mm footage.)
- First to the Moon [not free] is a documentary about Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders, and how they came to fly to the moon on Apollo 8, the first manned Apollo mission, and took one of the most famous pictures ever. Keith Cowing calls it the “finest space documentary I have ever seen. Full stop. … It embodies the full expanse of what it is like to have done something utterly improbable for the first time and to then spend an entire lifetime passing on that experience.”
- PBS’s Chasing the Moon, by Robert Stone, is now available for streaming.
- How did astronauts sleep on the moon? Not well.
- A video about Apollo 4, the first launch of the Saturn V, which accelerated an unmanned test reentry vehicle into the atmosphere in a powered dive to simulate lunar reentry velocities.
- What to do if you leave the headlights on and need a jump… on the moon.
- 13 Minutes to the Moon is a BBC podcast about the people who worked on the Apollo program, including interviews with Michael Collins and Jim Lovell.
- NASA Explorers: Apollo, from NASA, is “an audio series that tells stories of the Moon and the people who explore it.”
- The original CBS coverage of the Apollo 11 landing, anchored by Walter Cronkite.
- Apollo 11 in Real Time is a compilation of film, TV, and onboard footage, 11,000 hrs of mission control audio, and 2,000 photographs into a compelling real-time reenactment of the Apollo mission. Definitely check this out. "During the anniversary, clicking the 'Now' launch button will drop you into the mission exactly 50 years later, to the second."
- For our readers with small kids: a good list of Apollo and moon-related books to read with your children. (Moon Shot, in particular, has been revised, expanded, and re-released for the anniversary.)
- A map of the Apollo 11 landing site showing every photograph and television angle.
- For a limited time, get your very own Apollo 11 Astronaut M-1 survival machete.
- NASA has selected 12 lunar experiments for funding as part of Artemis (e.g., Apollo 2.0), including a rover from Astrobotic (who were also previously selected as one of three companies tasked with delivering payloads to the moon) and a flight spare robotic sampling arm from the Spirit and Opportunity missions.
- Will the real Snoopy please stand up? (For a bit more background info, here’s another article on the same topic.)
- The former chief historian of NASA explains that Apollo was almost a joint US–Soviet mission.
- The Gift of Apollo, by Carl Sagan.
- Recently discovered "concept art" used by North American Aviation to win the contract to build the Apollo spacecraft. Scott Manley just released a video about it as well.
- Wired has photos of previously unseen artifacts from NASA’s Apollo archives.
- Bitcoin mining on an Apollo Guidance Computer, because why not make one of the world’s most effective computers do something incredibly ineffective?
- How Much Did Apollo Cost? Short answer: $288.1 billion in today’s dollars over the 13 years of the program. To represent the same share of the economy today as Apollo did in the 1960s, however, this number would increase to $702 billion, which happens to be very close to the FY2019 US military budget.
- In the event that the astronauts abscond with the spacecraft...
Other news in brief. SpaceX released a report on the April Crew Dragon anomaly citing a nitrogen tetroxide leak during propulsion system pressurization which led to the high-pressure failure of a titanium check-valve and ignition of the titanium—no updated mission schedule has been announced; Hayabusa2 touched down on Ryugu for a second time, collecting pristine samples from the blast crater it made in April (Hayabusa2 will head back to Earth in late 2019); last Wednesday, Arianespace’s 15th Vega launch suffered the rocket’s first failure, resulting in the loss of its payload, a UAE Earth observation satellite; Virgin Orbit performed its first drop test of a dummy rocket from their Boeing 747 carrier plane on Thursday; ISRO scrubbed the Chandrayaan-2 launch at T-56 minutes on Sunday; a circumplanetary disk has been observed for the first time around a planet orbiting a young star 370 light-years away; and, Made In Space received $73M from NASA for Archinaut One, a smallsat that can 3D print large structures in LEO, in this case, two 10 m beams which will deploy solar arrays.