"Earth’s distant orb appeared the smallest light that twinkles in the heaven; whilst round the chariot’s way innumerable systems rolled and countless spheres diffused an ever-varying glory. It was a sight of wonder: some were hornèd like the crescent moon; some shed a mild and silver beam like Hesperus o'er the western sea; some dashed athwart with trains of flame, like worlds to death and ruin driven; some shone like suns, and as the chariot passed, eclipsed all other light." From "Queen Mab" by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1813)
Tuesday, 20 July 2010
Moon Day 2010
July 20th is the anniversary of the first manned landing on the moon; I call it Moon Day and as of last year, the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11’s arrival on a new world, I started a new tradition for myself to honour the space programme and the people who took part in it.
This morning starts as usual with the feeding of the birds and making Mrs Kitsch her morning lemon drink before getting myself ready. Moon Day gets off to a good start when Mrs Kitsch presents me with this marvellous 3D Apollo postcard to mark the special occasion.
It even has some brilliant space stamps on the back.
What a fantastic start to this year’s Moon Day, thank you the lovely Mrs Kitsch. Then it’s down to Mission Control to begin Moon Day in earnest by setting out the mission objectives and having my astronaut’s breakfast. Here are the mission objectives.
Basically, Moon Day consists of me sitting in front of the telly watching loads of space related programmes and films. I’ve arranged a packed mission for myself this year but so long as I manage “Moonwalk One”, “The Apollo Story” an episode of “From The Earth To The Moon” and a couple of Clangers episodes then it would have been a successful mission.
I’m joined in Mission Control by Space Monkey, it wouldn’t be the same without him.
The traditional launch day astronauts breakfast consisted of steak, eggs, toast, orange juice and coffee and was prepared by an ex-navy guy called Lew. I don’t drink coffee so swap that for tea and Mrs Kitsch makes the eggs and as far as I know she was never in the navy. Here’s my astronauts breakfast.
We have lift off. I've had my astronauts breakfast, I'm wearing my NASA t-shirt and I’ve already watched two episodes of The Clangers. I'll proceed on to my next mission objective now which is to watch “Moonwalk One”. Further mission updates will appear throughout the day.
Moon Day is progressing nicely, all systems are still go. I’ve watched “Moonwalk One” including the extras. It was pretty much what I expected and definitely worth having the special directors cut, two disc DVD. I’ve had it since Xmas but held off watching it till now and it was worth the wait.
However, I’ve also just watched “The Apollo Story: Man’s Journey To The Moon” which was something of a disappointment, despite being presented by the great Patrick Moore. It was made in conjunction with the Science Museum in London with some of it filmed there. Patrick Moore was good but the film didn’t go into very much detail and the quality was pretty poor with the sound going out of synch with the picture. Plus there was this hotchpotch of a montage at the end that included a lot of non-Apollo related images that didn’t seem appropriate. I really couldn't recommend that anyone bothers with this one, you're much better off spending the money on “The Sky At Night: Apollo 11 A Night To Remember”. Still, it was only a few quid from Amazon and I’ve seen worse documentaries. More mission updates to follow.
I’ve just watched a couple of episodes of “From The Earth To The Moon”, one of my favourite TV series ever. It was made following the success of the film “Apollo 13” and has all the same high quality production values of the film, with Tom Hanks introducing each episode as well as co-writing, co-directing and appearing in at least one of them.
The episodes I watched were “Spider” about the making of the Lunar Module followed by “Mare Tranquillitatis” about the actual landing. Brilliant. I can’t tell you how much I love this series. More mission updates to follow.
Watched an episode of “NASAs Greatest Missions”, the one about Apollo 11’s moon landing unsurprisingly. Top stuff. Yes I know I’ve seen it before, that’s not the point. It’s still good.
Followed by the film “Apollo 13” with commentary by Jim & Marilyn Lovell. It’s impossible for me to watch this film without the accompanying water works but with Marilyn Lovell actually crying during the commentary I was shedding tears well before the end of the film. Fantastic. A brilliant film to end Moon Day with.
So there we have it, another marvellous Moon Day draws to a close. Before it does though, I’ve found a couple of websites worth having a look at. There’s some good photos on the NASA Goddard Photo and Video's photostream on Flickr and a NASA site about Apollo 11. Have a look why don’t you.
Happy Moon Day!