Tags: apollo

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Summer of Apollo

It’s July, 2019. You know what that means? The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission is this month.

I’ve already got serious moon fever, and if you’d like to join me, I have some recommendations…

Watch the Apollo 11 documentary in a cinema. The 70mm footage is stunning, the sound design is immersive, the music is superb, and there’s some neat data visualisation too. Watching a preview screening in the Duke of York’s last week was pure joy from start to finish.

Listen to 13 Minutes To The Moon, the terrific ongoing BBC podcast by Kevin Fong. It’s got all my favourite titans of NASA: Michael Collins, Margaret Hamilton, and Charlie Duke, amongst others. And it’s got music by Hans Zimmer.

Experience the website Apollo 11 In Real Time on the biggest monitor you can. It’s absolutely wonderful! From July 16th, you can experience the mission timeshifted by exactly 50 years, but if you don’t want to wait, you can dive in right now. It genuinely feels like being in Mission Control!

Spacelogging

When I was gushing enthusiastically about Old Weather, I tried (and failed) to explain what it is that makes it so damn brilliant. I’ve just experienced some of that same brilliance. This time the source is Spacelog:

Read the stories of early space exploration from the original NASA transcripts. Now open to the public in a searchable, linkable format.

You can now read the transcripts from the Apollo 13 and Mercury 6 missions, and every single utterance has a permalink. For example:

Houston, we’ve had a problem.

The beauty of the idea is matched in the execution. Everything about the visual design helps to turn something that was previously simply information into an immersive, emotional experience. It’s one thing to know that these incredible events took place, it’s another to really feel it.

Spacelog shares the spirit of Science Hack Day. It’s a /dev/fort creation, put together in an incredibly short period of time; Norm! has the low-down.

Apollo 13 and Mercury 6 are just the start. If you want to help turn more transcripts into an emotionally engaging work of hypertext, everything is available under a public domain license and all the code is available on Github. Transcripts are available for Gemini 6, Apollo 8, and Apollo 11.

I can’t wait to read Charlie Duke as hypertext.