Feel like you’re late to the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing? In addition to online and televised events we discussed yesterday here at borg, you have several other ways to look back at Apollo 11 this week as we approach the anniversary of the Moonshot this Saturday.
Last year’s Todd Miller documentary Apollo 11 is back in theaters for a limited engagement. Check local listings or the film website here for participating theaters. Also in select theaters is the new documentary Armstrong, narrated by Harrison Ford. Both Apollo 11 and Armstrong are also available now on Vudu. Based on James R. Hansen’s book, the movie First Man, although neither an uplifting, exciting, or celebratory film about Apollo 11 mission commander Neil Armstrong, it does illustrate the personal toll, the lives lost, and the downside of life as an astronaut (probably save this one to view without the kids). On Netflix, you’ll find a different but fascinating angle in Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo. National Geographic’s Apollo: Missions to the Moon, Apollo’s Moonshot, and Al Reinert’s For All Mankind can be rented or purchased on Vudu. And The Lunar Rover: Apollo’s Final Challenge is available for viewing free right now on Vudu. Most of these can also be viewed with Amazon Prime.
You can get any book these days overnighted to you from Amazon. Just beware there are a lot of substandard books out there and many self-published without any actual insight into Apollo 11. Many others are highly recommended. Just after the Moonshot Apollo 11 command pilot Michael Collins wrote an autobiographical account, Carrying the Fire, available in a new edition. Collins also recommends Jim Donovan’s Shoot for the Moon. No Dream is Too High provides lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin’s personal life lessons from Apollo 11 and his life. The historical account American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race by Douglas Brinkley has been praised by critics and historians including Doris Kearns Goodwin. BBC science correspondent and ex-NASA astronomer David Whitehouse wrote Apollo 11: The Inside Story. Jay Barbree has written the most definitive account of mission commander Neil Armstrong in his Neil Armstrong: A Life in Flight. And the most recent work on Apollo 11 is this year’s well-reviewed One Giant Leap by Charles Fishman.
Get the new stamps and pre-order your own first day covers from the U.S. Post Office here (the yellow dot indicates Tranquility Base, landing site of the Eagle). And don’t forget the U.S. Mint still is selling its 50th anniversary commemorative coins. See our discussion of them earlier this year here at borg. Stay away from the original memorabilia unless you’re an expert–fakes are for sale all over the Internet this year, especially items like space-flown patches and astronaut autographs.
Looking for more?
You can’t beat the 1:100 scale launching Saturn V rocket kit from Estes. The Smithsonian has an inexpensive line of Lego knock-offs from COBI toys, including a Lunar Lander. Echo Toys has a set of small-scale (about 6-7 inches) rocket toys, including the Saturn V. And Lego fans can get the high-end Saturn V rocket set or Eagle lander. We’d recommend skipping the Metal Earth kits–we’ve found the risk of breakage on these is high. The most difficult thing to find related to Apollo 11 right now is anything like the classic Monogram docking ship plastic scale model kit from the 1970s.
Just want an action figure of an astronaut? Your cheapest bet is probably the Cornelius astronaut action figure from Super7.
And if you’re looking for a great retro view of Apollo 11, pick up the classic View-Master reels of the Apollo moon landing from View-Master via Amazon.
And finally, BBC has its Space Week this week, including Apollo 11-related tie-in episodes of Doctor Who.