Charlie Brown or Snoopy: America’s Future in Space Hangs in the Balance

As the Apollo 10 crew walks along a corridor on the way to Launch Complex 39B, mission commander Thomas P. Stafford pats the nose of Snoopy, the mission’s mascot, held by Jamye Flowers, astronaut Gordon Coopers’ secretary. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

This week, we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the flight of Apollo 10, the final mission before the first manned landing on the moon by Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969.

During the 8-day voyage, Tom Stafford and Eugene Cernan took the lunar module (LM) to within 47,400 feet (14.4 km) of the lunar surface before rendezvousing with the command service module (CSM) piloted by John Young.

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Elon Musk, Apollo 11 Documentary Honored With Stephen Hawking Medals

Elon Musk (Credit: SpaceX)

ZURICH (STARMUS PR) — The STARMUS festival announces the 2019 winners of the Stephen Hawking Medal, one of the world’s most celebrated science communication awards. This year’s recipients are:

  • Elon Musk for his astounding accomplishments in space travel and for humanity
  • Brian Eno for his contribution to the popularisation of science
  • Apollo 11, a documentary by Todd Douglas Miller, for its breakthrough look at history’s most famous space mission.

STARMUS will announce the winners at a press event in Zurich on May 10th, with the medal ceremony to follow on June 24 at the STARMUS V festival, also in Zurich. Celebrated scientist and educator Bill Nye will host the ceremony, and scheduled attendees include a remarkable roster of science and space luminaries, including Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins and six other Apollo mission astronauts.

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“First Man” Biopic of Neil Armstrong Getting Rave Reviews

Entertainment Weekly reports the Neil Armstrong biopic “First Man” has received rave reviews following its debut at the Venice Film Festival.

“This is a strikingly intelligent treatment of a defining moment for America that broadens the tonal range of Chazelle, clearly a versatile talent, after Whiplash and La La Land,” writes The Hollywood Reporter‘s David Rooney, further praising the film’s “refusal to engage in the expected jingoistic self-celebration” that celebrating Armstrong’s first-man-on-the-moon milestone could have registered.

“Gosling downplays his natural charisma here to portray a man simply intent on doing a job, approaching it with the utmost seriousness and without ego. Armstrong shows zero willingness to consider what he’s doing in any self-aggrandizing historical context, his taciturn demeanor proving frustrating to the press, who want uplifting soundbites. That makes the characterization almost antithetical to the standard Hollywood conception of a historically significant figure of this type,” he continues. “Instead, Gosling pulls you in on an intimate level, whether Neil is tackling life-or-death situations mid-mission or simply staring at the moon from his backyard, as if the distant image somehow holds the secret to a successful landing. It’s a subdued, almost self-effacing performance that nonetheless provides the drama with a commanding center.”

The Guardian‘s Peter Bradshaw similarly heralds Gosling’s work, calling his lead performance one of “muscular intelligence and decency,” while pegging the film as a “mostly soaring” effort overall, and Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman similarly heralds the project as “turbulently spectacular” and a “docudrama in the most authentic and exciting sense of the word” through Chazelle’s “audacious strategy…. to make a movie so revelatory in its realism, so gritty in its physicality, that it becomes a drama of thrillingly hellbent danger and obsession.”

“First Man” is in U.S. theaters on Oct. 12.

Michael Collins Q&A on Apollo 11

michaelcollinsNASA PRESS RELEASE

The following is a series of questions and answers prepared by Michael Collins, command module pilot for Apollo 11. Collins issued the following statement in lieu of media interviews:

These are questions I am most frequently asked, plus a few others I have added. For more information, please consult my book, the 40th anniversary edition of CARRYING THE FIRE, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. All of the following sections in quotation marks are from that reference.

Q. Circling the lonely moon by yourself, the loneliest person in the universe, weren’t you lonely?

A. No.

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