This has been my “get stuff done” and “time to be creative” jam this week, and I think it’s going to stay that way for a long time.
I mean, what more could you ask for than beautiful, ambient soundscapes that inspire feelings of cosmic wanderlust? It gives me a delightfully odd state of musical feels, guys. Sort of like an earthbound, sonic “overview effect”.
Two thumbs up.
(Also available on Spotify, and I really need to watch Al Reinert’s documentary now)
This music was originally recorded in 1983 for a feature length documentary movie called “Apollo” later retitled For All Mankind, directed by Al Reinert. The original version of the film had no narration, and simply featured 35mm footage of the Apollo moon missions collected together roughly chronologically, and set to Eno’s music as it appears on the CD. Although the film had some limited theatrical runs at so-called “art house” movie theaters in some cities, audience response was lukewarm. The filmmakers still felt the film could do better if it reached a wider audience, and so they re-edited the film, added narration, re-structured the music, and re-titled the film in the process.
In the liner notes, Eno relates that when he watched the Apollo 11 landing in 1969 he felt that the strangeness of that event was compromised by the low quality of the television transmission and an excess of journalistic discussion, and that he wished to avoid the melodramatic and uptempo way it was presented. That philosophy dominated when For All Mankind (“Apollo”) was originally released as a non-narrative collection of NASA stock footage from the Apollo program. The non-narrative version of the film with the Eno soundtrack was released on VHS video in 1990 by the National Geographic Society. An alternate version was also released by NASA featuring audio interviews but omitting the Brian Eno soundtrack.
Sidebar: I listen to this album nearly every night as I drift off to sleep by the glow of my lava lamp…
New episode of It’s Okay To Be Smart! Let’s all do the “new video” dance:
My latest creation is an ode to space exploration, from its rather war-themed beginnings, to the pure adventure of Apollo, to the golden age of the shuttle era, to the curiosity of Curiosity.
Where do we go from here? Special thanks to the National Air and Space Museum for letting me hang out with a real-life space shuttle for a few hours.
Flight controllers celebrate the successful conclusion of the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission on July 24, 1969, at NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston. On July 20, Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong planted the first human foot on another world. With more than half a billion people watching on television, he climbed down the ladder and proclaimed: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Image Credit: NASA
Put 44 years in perspective. Stretch back an equal time before the moon landing, and we are in 1925. The age of Gatsby. Prohibition. Ancient history.
Here we are today, half a lifetime after one of man’s greatest achievements, still taking steps, but unwilling to leap. Back then we were driven by fear and competition, Soviet paranoia powering our rockets to space. It’s time for a new fuel: Pure, unbridled curiosity. Who knows where that could take us?
That’s the fun part. We DON’T know.
3 DAYS LEFT!
Copperheads, there is an important restoration project underway that needs your help. The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project is raising money on Rockethub, a crowdsourcing website for fundraising, in order to restore Apollo-era imagery of the moon that the public has NEVER SEEN.
Thousands of 70mm film images were taken of the moon before astronauts landed there, transmitted to Earth digitally via 60s-era robots sent by NASA. Once those images got to Earth, they had to be recorded through analog. They have been sitting in storage warehouses (and were very nearly thrown away) and are currently in need of preservation.
We have 3 days to make sure the science of these early robot missions is saved. PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD RIGHT NOW to the pro-science and pro-space community of which you are a big part. And if you have a few dollars to donate to this science, please toss it in!
This is something we can totally do together.
For more information, see the official page on Rockethub: http://www.rockethub.com/projects/14882-lunar-orbiter-image-recovery-project
and our own Penny4NASA write up on the project: http://www.penny4nasa.org/2013/03/13/lunar-orbiter-image-recovery-project/
Worth supporting! Don’t let scientific history disappear.
Rollin’ through tha craters, haters see ya later, my lunar rover gets mileage that would please Ralph Nader …
If you haven’t seen these lunar rover “Grand Prix” clips from NASA, I highly recommend checkin’ them out. Because you’ve always wanted a driver’s-eye view of the lunar surface! So. Amazing.
Try and hold back your compliments on my amazing lyrical skills.
The Moon: Remastered
In 1966 and 1967, in preparation for the Apollo missions, NASA sent five unmanned lunar orbiters to map the Moon. Their extensive collection of images were stored on analog tapes. In an effort to save them from being scrapped, NASA/ARC archivists have been digitizing and enhancing the images so that they may live on and contribute to history and future lunar science.
This image shows Tsiolkovskiy crater, on the far side of the Moon. This is what’s called a complex crater, its central peak casting frigid shadows on the dark volcanic rock underneath. The immense central peak was formed from an ancient impact so powerful that the Moon’s surface rebounded upward like a droplet hitting water, leaving a permanent eye in the center of the crater. Our Moon, so distant and small to human eyes, hides the true scale of this crater, a massive 112 miles (180 km) wide.
Check out more stunningly restored images at MoonViews.
Instagramming the Moon
Just kidding! The astronauts never would have stood for the new Terms of Service. Amiright?!
You’re looking at just a few of the photos from the Apollo Image Atlas, a collection of every photo taken by every Apollo mission. I’ve been perusing it all morning, and if you choose to do the same, I hope you’ve got a little time on your hands. It’s addictive.
The photos inside the Apollo Image Atlas are much more interesting than the low-res square phone shots that we share today, but in these vintage film snaps you can see some of the photographic influences that became your favorite Instagram and Hipstamatic filters.
This gallery is from Apollo 17, the final mission to the Moon 40 years ago last week. Each of these was captured with the famous Hasselblad 70mm. I love the imperfections in these shots, those light leaks and missed focal points that we just never see in today’s NASA photos. When you’re trudging around in a bulky spacesuit carrying a film camera, you’ve just got to point and pray.
Head over to the Apollo Image Atlas, and take a hip trip without leaving home.
Tuesday, before the Great Tumblr Meltdown of 12/12/12, I put down a few thoughts on the 40th anniversary of the last photo of Earth ever taken by a human in space, the “Blue Marble”. Read it here if you missed it.
I believe, without a doubt, that that shot, taken with human hands, altered the human perspective in ways that will affect the remainder of our existence. It can not be the last time humans see that with the naked eye.
Thanks to Open Culture, and the folks at the Planetary Collective, we have this supremely interesting film that pays tribute to that photo on its 40th anniversary, and discusses the odd psychology of viewing our planet from space (the “overview effect”). Enjoy.
When we originally went to the Moon, our total focus was on the Moon, we weren’t thinking about looking back at the Earth. But now that we’ve done it, that may well have been the most important reason we went.
By traveling closer to the stars that we have been able to realize that we are born of their dusty remains. And by traveling off of Earth, we have been able to realize that we are all travelers on the same Spaceship Earth.