Agent Palmer

Of all things Geek. I am…

Looking Back for Apollo 11’s 50th Anniversary Leads to Questions for Future Exploration

Earth Rising over the Moon from NASA Archive

I’ve always been enamored by the Space Program. I remember putting on a football helmet, backpack covered in tin foil, recreating Armstrong’s first steps on the moon for something, though I have no idea what and that was when I was 8 or 9?

I remember watching The Right Stuff and, what is quite possibly the best miniseries on the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo era of NASA Moonshot which was co-written by Deke Slayton and Al Shepherd.

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“Of a Fire on the Moon” by Norman Mailer is the Poetry and Prose of Apollo 11

Of a Fire on the Moon by Norman Mailer

There is something unique about Of a Fire on the Moon by Norman Mailer. Is it that it’s immensely rich with poetry in prose telling one of the great triumphs of modern engineering? Is it that Mailer looks for the lurking evil of the Moon or that he’s not sure if the moon shot itself was the work of the devil?

Could it be the dark humour, the deciphering of the three men who undertook the journey and those organizations and people who helped get them there? Or the curious platitudes on science versus engineering?

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As a film adaptation, First Man is Mission Accomplished

First Man Film Adaptation is Mission Accomplished

I’ve read First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen, the main source material for First Man the film starring Ryan Gosling. I’ve also recently read books by the two other astronauts of Apollo 11; Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, and I’ve always been fascinated with the history of space flight from every documentary and film I could get my hands on including the seminal The Right Stuff and PBS’s Moonshot.

All of this is a long way to go to explain that my opinion, while not expert within the field of astronautics, is kind of refined when it comes to the history of NASA within both the written word and moving pictures.

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The Unknowns of Earth: A Book Review of Return to Earth by Buzz Aldrin

Buzz Aldrin Return to Earth Autobiography Cover

Completing my read of Return to Earth by Buzz Aldrin and Wayne Warga also completed my own personal Apollo 11 trilogy of biographies/autobiographies of the three brave men who made that first trip.

What sets Aldrin’s book apart from the other two, is that while it tells his story it focuses more on feelings and his eventual spiral into, and battle with, depression. It overall is just as candid as Collin’s Carrying the Fire albeit more personal.

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Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut’s Journeys by Michael Collins is a must have for NASAphiles

Carrying the Fire An Astronauts Journeys Michael Collins

There is something uniquely wonderful about the autobiography of Michael Collins, Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut’s Journeys, and it is indeed the author Michael Collins.

Collins writes of his journeys into the astronaut corps and of his flights on Gemini 10 and Apollo 11 with such descriptive simplicity, that the book is both hard to put down and hard to continue without taking a moment to think about the story he has just told.

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