On the big screen
The New Zealand International Film Festival in Auckland is screening new documentary Apollo 11 beneath the stars of the Civic Theatre on July 20 – the semicentennial of the day Neil Armstrong took his small step on to the lunar surface. The acclaimed film uses a trove of mostly previously unseen Nasa 65mm footage and draws from 11,000 hours of mission audio recordings.
On the small screen
The BBC’s 8 Days to the Moon and Back (BBC Earth, July 20, 7.30pm) is a 90-minute combination of documentary and dramatisation. The Apollo 11 crew members are played by Brit actors, but the production uses original mission audio.
On the page
There are enough new books on the first moonshot to fill a crater. But for an engaging, lyrical overview of the mission, the US-USSR space race that preceded it, and the aftermath for its participants, Apollo 11: The Inside Story, by David Whitehouse (Icon), is recommended reading.
On the ceiling
Both Wellington’s Carter Observatory and the Otago Museum are screening seasons of the new planetarium movie CapCom Go!, which renders the Apollo programme into a 26-minute 3D-film, featuring music by Wellington’s Rhian Sheehan. Meanwhile, Auckland’s Stardome Observatory has the Giant Leap Exhibition, which runs until July 25.
In the magazine
This week's issue of the Listener marks the 50th anniversary of the moon landing with features on Sir William Pickering, the Kiwi scientist whose team helped make the feat happen, the five technologies from the space race that we take for granted, and what you need to know about the hostile use of space.
This article was first published in the July 20, 2019 issue of the New Zealand Listener.